Lockheed Martin Ships Second GPS III Satellite
The U.S. Air Force’s second new GPS III satellite has arrived in Florida for launch. According to the release, GPS III is the most powerful and resilient GPS satellite ever put on orbit. Developed with an entirely new design, for U.S. and allied forces, it aims to have three times greater accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities over the previous GPS II satellite design block, which makes up today’s GPS constellation. GPS III also will be the first GPS satellite to broadcast the new L1C civil signal. Shared by other international global navigation satellite systems, like Galileo, the L1C signal will improve future connectivity worldwide for commercial and civilian users.
On March 18, Lockheed Martin shipped the Air Force’s second GPS III space vehicle to Cape Canaveral for an expected July launch. Designed and built at Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Processing Facility near Denver, the satellite traveled from Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, to the Cape on a massive Air Force C-17 aircraft. The Air Force began modernizing the GPS constellation with new technology and capabilities with the December 23, 2018 launch of its first GPS III satellite. GPS III SV01 is now receiving and responding to commands from Lockheed Martin’s Launch and Checkout Center at the company’s Denver facility.
“After orbit raising and antenna deployments, we switched on GPS III SV01’s powerful signal-generating navigation payload and on Jan. 8 began broadcasting signals,” said Lockheed Martin Vice President (VP) for Navigation Systems Johnathon Caldwell. “Our on orbit testing continues, but the navigation payload’s capabilities have exceeded expectations and the satellite is operating completely healthy.”