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June 18, 2021

USSF’s Lockheed Martin-built GPS III SV05 satellite heads to orbit

The launch marks another milestone in the GPS III programme for the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and USSF.

The US Space Force’s (USSF) Lockheed Martin -built global positioning system III Space Vehicle 05 (GPS III SV05) satellite has launched and from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, US.

About 90 minutes after lift-off, USSF and Lockheed Martin engineers at the company’s Denver GPS III Launch & Checkout Operations Center declared that GPS III SV05 separated from its SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The team confirmed that the satellite is ‘flying’ under their control.

Over the next few days, GPS III SV05’s on board liquid apogee engine will continue to ‘propel the satellite towards its operational orbit’ 12,550 miles above Earth.

After it arrives, engineers will work towards the handover of GPS III SV05 to Space Operations Command (SpOC).

Lockheed Martin Navigation Systems vice-president Tonya Ladwig said: “With GPS III SV05, we continue our focus on rapidly fielding innovative capabilities for the Space Force’s Positioning, Navigation and Timing Mission.

“With each satellite we bring to orbit, we help the US Space Force to modernise the GPS constellation’s technology and to imagine future capability.

“Our next three satellites, GPS III SV06, SV07 and SV08, are already complete and just waiting for a launch date.”

Lockheed is part of the GPS III team led by the Space Production Corps Medium Earth Orbit Division at the USSF’s Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles Air Force Base.

Currently, the GPS III SV06, 07 and 08 satellites are fully assembled. They are undergoing environmental testing at the company’s GPS III Processing Facility in Denver.

GPS III SV09 and 10 are in the component build-up stage.

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