MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The launch of a third new generation navigation satellite, GPS III, has been postponed due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the United States Space Force announced on Wednesday.
“The United States Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) has decided to reschedule the launch of GPS III SV03 (GPS III-3) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to minimise the potential of COVID-19 exposure to the launch crew and early-orbit operators”, the Space Force said.
“The current GPS constellation is healthy, allowing for a strategic pause to ensure the health and safety of our force without operational impact. Originally scheduled for late April 2020, the launch is now projected for no-earlier than 30 June, pending a re-evaluation in May”, it said.
The GPS III-3 satellite was scheduled to be launched on 29 April via a Falcon 9 carrier rocket from the launch site at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The launch was delayed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has so far killed around 13,000 people and infected almost 400,000 in the country.