NamesNavstar 2A-16
Mission typeNavigation
OperatorU.S. Air Force
COSPAR ID1996-019A [1]
SATCAT no.23833
Mission duration7.5 years (planned)
18.25 years (achieved)
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftGPS IIA
Spacecraft typeGPS Block IIA[2]
ManufacturerRockwell International
Launch mass840 kg (1,850 lb)
Dimensions5.3 m (17 ft) of long
Power710 watts
Start of mission
Launch date28 March 1996, 00:21:00 UTC
RocketDelta II 7925-9.5
(Delta D234)
Launch siteCape Canaveral, LC-17B
ContractorMcDonnell Douglas
Entered service27 April 1996
End of mission
DisposalGraveyard orbit
Deactivated2 August 2014
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit[3]
RegimeMedium Earth orbit
SlotC2 (slot 2 plane C)
Perigee altitude20,078 km (12,476 mi)
Apogee altitude20,282 km (12,603 mi)
Period718.00 minutes
← USA-100 (GPS IIA-15)
USA-126 (GPS IIA-17) →

USA-117, also known as GPS IIA-16, GPS II-25 and GPS SVN-33, is an American navigation satellite which forms part of the Global Positioning System. It was the sixteenth of nineteen Block IIA GPS satellites to be launched.


Global Positioning System (GPS) was developed by the U.S. Department of Defense to provide all-weather round-the-clock navigation capabilities for military ground, sea, and air forces. Since its implementation, GPS has also become an integral asset in numerous civilian applications and industries around the globe, including recreational used (e.g., boating, aircraft, hiking), corporate vehicle fleet tracking, and surveying. GPS employs 24 spacecraft in 20,200 km circular orbits inclined at 55.0°. These vehicles are placed in 6 orbit planes with four operational satellites in each plane.[1]

GPS Block 2 was the operational system, following the demonstration system composed of Block 1 (Navstar 1 - 11) spacecraft. These spacecraft were 3-axis stabilized, nadir pointing using reaction wheels. Dual solar arrays supplied 710 watts of power. They used S-band (SGLS) communications for control and telemetry and Ultra high frequency (UHF) cross-link between spacecraft. The payload consisted of two L-band navigation signals at 1575.42 MHz (L1) and 1227.60 MHz (L2). Each spacecraft carried 2 rubidium and 2 Cesium clocks and nuclear detonation detection sensors. Built by Rockwell Space Systems for the U.S. Air force, the spacecraft measured 5.3 m across with solar panels deployed and had a design life of 7.5 years.[1]


USA-117 was launched at 00:21:00 UTC on 28 March 1996, atop a Delta II launch vehicle, flight number D234, flying in the 7925-9.5 configuration.[4] The launch took place from Launch Complex 17B (LC-17B) at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS),[5] and placed USA-117 into a transfer orbit. The satellite raised itself into medium Earth orbit using a Star-37XFP apogee motor.[2]


On 27 April 1996, USA-117 was in an orbit with a perigee of 20,078 km (12,476 mi), an apogee of 20,282 km (12,603 mi), a period of 718.00 minutes, and 54.70° of inclination to the equator.[3] It broadcasts the PRN 03 signal, and operates in slot 2 of plane C of the GPS constellation.[6] The satellite has a mass of 840 kg (1,850 lb). It had a design life of 7.5 years;[2] however, it actually remained in service until 2 August 2014.

It was subsequently disposed of and currently resides in a disposal orbit approximately 500 km above the operational constellation.[7]


  1. ^ a b c "Display: Navstar 2A-16 1996-019A". NASA. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 20 December 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ a b c Krebs, Gunter. "GPS-2A (Navstar-2A)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Trajectory: Navstar 2A-16 1996-019A". NASA. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 20 December 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Report. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  5. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch List". Launch Vehicle Database. Jonathan's Space Report. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  6. ^ Wade, Mark. "Navstar". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 11 November 2002. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  7. ^ "". Retrieved 18 July 2015.