The US Air Force’s (USAF) first advanced GPS III space vehicle (GPS III SV01) has been shipped to Cape Canaveral, Florida, for its expected launch in December.
Designed and developed by Lockheed Martin at its GPS III Processing Facility near Denver, the higher-power satellite has been shipped from the USAF’s Buckley Air Force Base (AFB) in Colorado on a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft.
The GPS III SV01 satellite offers new features specifically designed for the US and allied forces.
Once launched, the satellite will have the capability to perform with three times increased accuracy and up to eight times enhanced anti-jamming capabilities over the currently orbiting GPS II satellite design block.
Lockheed Martin Navigation Systems programme manager Johnathon Caldwell said: “The advanced technology of this first GPS III space vehicle will begin playing a major role in the airforce’s plan to modernise the GPS satellite constellation.
“We are excited to start bringing GPS III’s new capabilities to the world and proud to continue to serve as a valued partner for the airforce’s positioning, navigation and timing mission systems.”
In addition, the satellite will be the first GPS system that would broadcast the new L1C civil signal, which will help increase future connectivity for both commercial and civilian users across the globe.
GPS III SV01 is the first of ten new GPS III satellites currently under full production at the company’s processing facility.
Earlier this month, the USAF declared the second GPS III Space Vehicle 02 (GPS III SV02) ‘available for launch’ in 2019, while the first satellite was declared ‘available for launch’ in September last year.