Now Fully Assembled, GPS 3 Prepares for Environmental Testing

GPS 3 SV03 fully assembled at Lockheed Martin's satellite manufacturing facility near Denver, Colorado. Photo: Lockheed Martin.

GPS 3 SV03 fully assembled at Lockheed Martin’s satellite manufacturing facility near Denver, Colorado. Photo: Lockheed Martin.

The U.S. Air Force’s third GPS 3 satellite (GPS 3 SV03) in production flow at Lockheed Martin’s satellite manufacturing facility is now fully integrated into a complete space vehicle. Now fully assembled, the third satellite is being prepared to begin environmental testing.

GPS 3 SV03 closely follows the company’s second satellite in production flow. GPS 3 SV02 completed integration in May, finished acoustic testing in July and moved into thermal vacuum testing in August. Lockheed Martin expects to deliver the second GPS 3 satellite to the U.S. Air Force in 2018.

Lockheed Martin received the navigation payload for the fourth satellite, GPS 3 SV04, in October, and the payload is now integrated with the space vehicle. The company expects to integrate SV04 into a complete space vehicle in January 2018.

In August, Lockheed Martin technicians began major assembly work on GPS 3 SV05. In September, the Air Force accepted and declared the first satellite, GPS 3 SV01, available for launch, with liftoff expected in 2018.

In total, Lockheed Martin is under contract for 10 next-generation GPS 3 satellites as part of the Air Force’s modernized Global Positioning System. According to the Air Force, GPS 3 will have three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities. Spacecraft life will extend to 15 years, 25 percent longer than the newest GPS satellites on-orbit today. GPS 3’s new L1C civil signal also will make it the first GPS satellite to be interoperable with other international global navigation satellite systems.

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