Lockheed Martin has successfully completed a launch-simulation test on the second GPS III space vehicle (SV) built for the US Air Force (USAF).
During the acoustic testing carried out in a specialised test chamber equipped with high-powered horns, the GPS III SV02 satellite was continuously blasted with 140 decibels to verify its robustness.
The test was conducted to simulate the stress the satellite will experience during launch.
Lockheed Martin Navigation Systems vice-president Mark Stewart said: “With this launch-simulation test, we are talking about sophisticated, advanced satellite technology and electronics enduring tremendous forces and then working flawlessly afterwards.”
GPS III SV02 is the company’s second GPS III satellite to successfully complete acoustic testing.
The company’s first satellite, GPS III SV01, completed acoustic testing in 2015. It is currently in storage awaiting its expected launch date next year, Lockheed stated.
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The GPS III SV02 satellite will undergo Thermal Vacuum (TVAC) testing at the beginning of the fourth quarter and is anticipated to be delivered to the airforce early next year.
During TVAC testing, the satellite will be subjected to extreme cold and heat in zero atmospheres, simulating its on-orbit life.
The GPS III SV02 satellite forms a part of the USAF’s next generation of GPS satellites with three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities, Lockheed stated.
Lockheed Martin is contracted to produce a total of ten GPS III satellites for military use.
Production of these satellites is being carried out at the company’s GPS III Processing Facility near Denver, Colorado, US.