Mike Pence headed to Cape Canaveral to watch first SpaceX GPS III launch


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Vice President Mike Pence will be among the many spectators as SpaceX launches its very first Air Force Global Positioning System III satellite Dec. 18, News 6 partner Florida Today reports. 

Tweeting on Wednesday, Pence announced he would be heading to "The World's Premiere Gateway to Space" to watch the launch, on what he said is "an important step forward as we seek to secure American leadership in space."

The tweet came after Pence met with NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine, and others to discuss the administration's goals for the future of space exploration, which includes returning humans to the moon and on to Mars. 

SpaceX will be launching the spacecraft, also known as Satellite Vehicle 01, from a new Falcon 9 rocket. The launch window is from 9:11 to 9:37 a.m. ET Dec. 18 from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Nicknamed "Vespucci" in honor of the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci for whom the Americas were named, the Lockheed Martin-made satellite is the first in a series of next-generation GPS satellites.

SV01 will have three times better accuracy, up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities, an extended spacecraft life up to 15 years and will be the first GPS satellite to broadcast signal compatible with other international global navigation satellite systems.