Next-gen GPS satellite launch delayed again

The launch date has slipped to December.

Vice President Mike Pence laid out plans for the US Space Force on Thursday, calling out an advanced type of satellite, GPS III, that is apparently resistant to tampering. According to Bloomberg, however, this specific orbital machinery has been delayed for the last four years, and the launch date has slipped yet again.

Bloomberg reports that the launch, originally scheduled for April of this year and delayed to October, will now happen in December. The Air Force confirmed to the site that the delay will accommodate "qualification testing" and a validation of SpaceX's Falcon 9 Block 5, the rocket that will boost the satellite into orbit. As a sixth branch of the US military, Space Force also still has yet to be approved by Congress; the Air Force currently manages all space programs.

"GPS is an essential national security asset and a key component of our nation's infrastructure and economy, but GPS programs have also been plagued by acquisition problems, delays, and cost growth," Cristina Chaplain, space systems director for the Government Accountability Office, told Bloomberg in an email.