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US Air Force Green Lights Lockheed’s GPS III Design

By | December 13, 2016
      GPS III satellites in production at Lockheed Martin's GPS III Processing Facility near Denver, Colorado. Photo: Lockheed Martin

      GPS III satellites in production at Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Processing Facility near Denver, Colorado. Photo: Lockheed Martin

      [Via Satellite 12-13-2016] The U.S. Air Force approved Lockheed Martin‘s design to upgrade the current GPS satellite ground control system with new capabilities that will enable it to operate more powerful and accurate GPS III satellites.

      The successful Critical Design Review (CDR) for the Contingency Operations (COps) contract, completed on Nov.17, gives Lockheed Martin a green light to proceed with software development and systems engineering to modify the existing GPS ground control system, called the Architecture Evolution Plan (AEP) Operational Control Segment. The AEP is currently maintained by Lockheed Martin and controls the 31 GPS IIR, IIR-M and IIF satellites in orbit today.

      The COps modifications will allow the AEP to support the GPS Block III satellites, enabling them to perform their positioning, navigation and timing mission, once they are launched. COps is envisioned as a temporary gap filler prior to the entire GPS constellation’s transition to operations onto the next generation Operational Control System (OCX) Block 1, currently in development.

      Lockheed Martin is under contract to develop and build the Air Force’s first ten GPS III satellites, which aim to deliver three times better accuracy, provide up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities and extend spacecraft life to 15 years, 25 percent longer than the newest GPS satellites on-orbit today, according to a statement released by the company.