Lockheed Martin Plans GPS 3 Demos for US Air Force
[Via Satellite 05-20-2016] As part of the U.S. Air Force’s GPS 3 Space Vehicles 11+ Production Readiness Feasibility Assessment, Lockheed Martin is planning demonstrations of its GPS 3 design over the next 26 months. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for the first batch of GPS 3 satellites. The Air Force has opened up future satellites to competition and on May 5 awarded $5 million contracts to Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman for the Phase 1 procurement for future GPS 3 satellites.
Lockheed Martin completed system-level Thermal Vacuum (TVAC) testing on the first GPS 3 satellite in December 2015, validating the design and manufacturing processes. Seven more GPS 3 satellites are following the first one in production flow at the company’s GPS Processing Facility in Denver. The company’s version of GPS 3 features on-orbit re-programmability so satellites can be upgraded in space to add new signals or missions, a first for the GPS constellation. The satellite’s modular design will also allow for low risk, easy insertion of new, future technology into the production line, according to the company.