May 17, 2010 4:13 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5
The Air Force is launching the first of a new generation of Global Positioning System satellites expected to last longer and perform better.
The satellite is scheduled to lift off Thursday at about 11:30 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral.
GPS uses 24 satellites beaming signals to Earth that can pinpoint a location using a receiver tuned to the satellite frequency. It's widely used by the military and civilians.
The satellites are overseen by Air Force Space Command, headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.
The new satellites, known as Block IIF, have a design life of 12 years, faster processors, more memory and a new signal for civilian uses.
They are built by Boeing Co.