USAF accepts Lockheed Martin’s first GPS III satellite
The US Air Force (USAF) has accepted Lockheed Martin’s first GPS III Space Vehicle (GPS III SV01) and declared the satellite ‘Available for Launch’ (AFL).
The company is now awaiting a call from the USAF to begin pre-launch preparations ahead of the satellite’s expected launch next year.
The GPS III SV01 is a next-generation technology that is claimed to have eight times better anti-jamming capabilities.
The satellite’s nearly 70% digital payload will provide the airforce with greater operational flexibility, Lockheed stated.
It will also broadcast a new civil signal that is claimed to improve future connectivity worldwide for commercial and civilian users.
The GPS III signals will provide three times more accuracy than any current GPS satellite, according to the statement.
Lockheed Martin Navigation Systems mission area vice-president Mark Stewart said: "As we designed GPS III, we knew that mission needs would change in the future and that new technology will become available.
"We wanted the satellite to be flexible to adapt to those changes.
"To do that, we intentionally developed GPS III with a modular design. This allows us to easily insert new technology into our production line."
Lockheed has ten GPS III satellites in full production phase at its GPS III Processing Facility near Denver, Colorado, US.
The GPS III team is led by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at the US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.
The Air Force Space Command's 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS), based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.
Image: The USAF declared the first Lockheed Martin-built, next-generation GPS III satellite 'Available for Launch' in 2018. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.