Exelis has successfully completed upgrade work on the new software of the US Air Force’s (USAF) global positioning system next-generation operational control system (GPS OCX). The company has recently conducted integration and testing of iteration 1.5 of the OCX navigation, encryption and mission upload generator (MUG) software. Designed to help ground controllers better understand the satellites’ exact positioning in orbit, the new encryption software can automatically code and decode GPS signals, enabling the exchange of user information through secure transmission of navigation payload data between the OCX ground system and the orbiting constellation of satellites. Exelis Geospatial Systems OCX programme manager Drew Trainor said the software milestones demonstrate a clear path to enhanced GPS accuracy and integrity. ”Civilian and military users will have more accurate and secure GPS signals, and these milestones bring us one step closer to GPS modernisation,” Trainor said.
Developed under a contract awarded by Raytheon in February 2010, the software can generate spacecraft payload updates to refresh the navigation data transmitted to all GPS users, which is generated multiple times a day for each satellite and helps to consistently minimise user error. Exelis is also building high-precision receivers for use in ground monitoring stations placed strategically worldwide, in addition to providing data encryptors that help ensure secure information exchange between the ground and space segments of the system. The implementation of the new operational control segment is expected to improve GPS’s overall performance, including increased signal and time transfer accuracy, and will also provide military users increased accuracy, availability, anti-jam power and international interoperability. The GPS modernisation will enhance a variety of business and economic practices, such as air traffic control, crop management, and environmental monitoring, among others.