Harris delivers fifth navigation payload for USAF’s GPS III satellite

6 June 2018 (Last Updated June 8th, 2018 10:40)

Harris has delivered an advanced navigation payload for the US Air Force’s (USAF) Global Positioning System (GPS) III satellite programme.

Harris delivers fifth navigation payload for USAF’s GPS III satellite
GPS III satellites in production flow at Lockheed Martin facility near Denver. Credit: Lockheed Martin

Harris has delivered an advanced navigation payload for the US Air Force’s (USAF) Global Positioning System (GPS) III satellite programme.

Delivered to Lockheed Martin, it is the fifth out of ten navigation payloads designed to increase the capabilities and performance of the GPS satellite for the USAF.

The GPS III navigation payload is fitted with a mission data unit (MDU) with a 70 digital design that helps link atomic clocks, radiation-hardened computers and powerful transmitters.

This provides signals that are three times more accurate than the ones on current GPS satellites.

“In November, Harris completed the development of a fully digital MDU for the GPS III Follow On programme.”

In addition, the payload strengthens satellite signal power, improves jamming resistance by eight times and extends the satellite’s lifespan.

Lockheed Martin has successfully installed the navigation payload into the fifth GPS III space vehicle (GPS III SV05).

Harris has already delivered four navigation payloads that have been installed on GPS III SV01-SV04 and will provide three more at the beginning of next year for the USAF’s GPS III SV06-SV08.

In September, the USAF declared the first GPS III satellite available for launch (AFL), which is expected to take place later this year.

GPS III SV02 completed rigorous thermal vacuum testing in December and is expected to be declared AFL in summer. The GPS III SV03 and SV04 will undergo environmental testing this year.

In November, Harris completed the development of a fully digital MDU for the GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) programme.