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GPS III Space Vehicle No. 1 departs from Buckley AFB

Airman 1st Class Alexander Herman, a loadmaster assigned to the 4th Airlift Squadron, secures the very first GPS III satellite, SV-01, affectionately dubbed “Vespucci” in honor of Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer for whom the Americas were named, onto a C-17 Globemaster III in preparation for takeoff from Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 20, 2018.

Airman 1st Class Alexander Herman, a loadmaster assigned to the 4th Airlift Squadron, secures the very first GPS III satellite, SV-01, affectionately dubbed “Vespucci” in honor of Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer for whom the Americas were named, onto a C-17 Globemaster III in preparation for takeoff from Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 20, 2018. GPS III will be the most powerful GPS satellite ever on orbit and will have three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jazmin Smith)

GPS III Space Vehicle No. 1

A government and contractor team loads the first GPS III satellite for transport aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Aug. 20 at Buckley AFB, Colorado to begin processing for a December launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Erin Gulden)

A team of government and civilian contractors load the remaining support cargo after securing the very first GPS III satellite onto a C-17 Globemaster III at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 20, 2018.

A team of government and civilian contractors load the remaining support cargo after securing the very first GPS III satellite onto a C-17 Globemaster III at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 20, 2018. The GPS III satellite, SV-01, affectionately dubbed “Vespucci” in honor of Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer for whom the Americas were named, has been declared technically sound and ready to launch. It was being shipped to Cape Canaveral, Florida, where it is scheduled to launch later this year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jazmin Smith)

Tech. Sgt. Eugene Mehaffy, Jr., a loadmaster assigned to the 313th Airlift Squadron, secures the very first GPS III satellite, SV-01, named “Vespucci” in honor of Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer for whom the Americas were named, onto a C-17 Globemaster III in preparation for takeoff from Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 20, 2018.

Tech. Sgt. Eugene Mehaffy, Jr., a loadmaster assigned to the 313th Airlift Squadron, secures the very first GPS III satellite, SV-01, named “Vespucci” in honor of Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer for whom the Americas were named, onto a C-17 Globemaster III in preparation for takeoff from Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 20, 2018. GPS III will be the most powerful global positioning systems satellite ever on orbit, having three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jazmin Smith)

Airmen involved in the loading of the very first GPS III satellite gather for a group photo in front of a C-17 Globemaster III prior to its takeoff from Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 20, 2018.

Airmen involved in the loading of the very first GPS III satellite gather for a group photo in front of a C-17 Globemaster III prior to its takeoff from Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 20, 2018. The GPS III satellite is designed to evolve to incorporate new technology and changing mission needs. The satellite was shipped from Buckley AFB to Cape Canaveral, Florida, where it is scheduled to launch later this year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jazmin Smith)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colorado --