The USA successfully launched the GPS III SV05 satellite on a Falcon 9 vehicle from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, USA, at 1609 GMT on 17 June. The GPS III SV05 satellite was deployed by the upper-stage at 1738 GMT. Initially left in an intermediate transfer orbit, the satellite will now propel itself into MEO proper.
The first-stage of the vehicle landed on the drone barge “Just Read The Instructions” stationed down range in the Atlantic Ocean eight and a half minutes post-launch.
This launch marks the first “national security” payload launched on a re-used first-stage. This milestone represents the US military establishment’s growing ease with the idea of rocket reusability. Initially the launch contracts for these GPS missions required SpaceX to utilise a new first-stage for each however, this has now been amended to allow for previously flown boosters in future. As a stepping stone to full acceptance of re-used first-stages from the general pool, the USSF requested that this mission utilise the first-stage which flew the previous GPS mission in November last year.