This Gorgeous GPS Satellite Is Ready for Tomorrow's Launch

Illustration for article titled This Gorgeous GPS Satellite Is Ready for Tomorrows Launch

This golden slice of visual perfection is a Global Positioning System IIF-series satellite. It underwent final encapsulation inside its four-meter diameter protective payload fairing on October 21st at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.


The U.S. Air Force and its mission partners are scheduled to launch this satellite aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 401 rocket tomorrow from Space Launch Complex 41. The new GPS satellite will be smarter and more durable than previous GPS satellites, as USAf explains:

GPS IIF will provide improved navigational accuracy through advanced atomic clocks, a longer design life, and a third operational civil signal (L5) that benefits commercial aviation and safety-of-life applications.


Note: An earlier version of this post said that the satellite was launching today. It is, in fact, launching tomorrow.

[Photo: United Launch Alliance via USAF]

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Serious but stupid question...why is the gold foil always wrinkled? Built in clean rooms, engineered ad infinitum, but wrinkles?