Lockheed Martin has started preparations for installation of the navigation, communication, and hosted payload antenna assemblies on the US Air Force’s (USAF) first global positioning system III (GPS III) satellite.
Manufactured at the company’s Pennsylvania facility, seven antenna assemblies have recently been shipped to its GPS III Processing Facility (GPF), which is located near Denver, Colorado, US, for subsequent installation on GPS III space vehicle (SV01).
Lockheed Martin Navigation Systems mission area vice-president Keoki Jackson said: ”These antennas on the next generation of GPS III satellites will transmit data utilised by more than one billion users with navigation, positioning and timing needs.”
As well as providing SV01 with the ability to transmit and/or receive data for earth-coverage and military earth-coverage navigation, the antennas are also designed to offer a UHF crosslink for inter-satellite data transfer, telemetry, tracking and control for satellite-ground communications, as well as data acquisition and communication for the nuclear detection system hosted payload.
The antenna design facilitates transmission of three to eight times greater anti-jamming signal power to worldwide military when compared to the previous GPS generations.
Having successfully completed SV01 bus testing and its initial power on, Lockheed remains on-schedule to deliver the first flight-ready GPS III satellite to USAF in 2014.
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Primarily intended to replace the USAF’s existing GPS constellation, GPS III is capable of delivering enhanced accuracy, navigation and timing services, and anti-jamming power to help address the evolving requirements of military, commercial and civilian users worldwide.
Currently under contract for production of the first four GPS III satellites (SV 1-4), Lockheed has also secured advanced procurement funding for long-lead components for the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth satellites (SV 5-8).
Image: A depiction of USAF’s global positioning system III satellite in orbit. Photo: © 2013 Lockheed Martin Corporation.