GPS-III Is In Initial Preps for Operational Status
Better … Strong … Faster … than it was before.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - May 29, 2012
A Garmin nuvi 3790 mounted in a Volvo S60. Dependant on GPS satellites or it would be a useless piece of electronic junk.
GPS is an essential element of the global information infrastructure for far more than just our to and fro automobile travels. GPS technology is found in everything from cell phones and wristwatches to shipping containers, and ATM's. The system boosts productivity across a wide swath of the economy, to include farming, construction, mining, surveying, supply chain management and more. Major communications networks, banking systems, financial markets, and power grids depend on GPS and the technology is embedded in virtually every U.S. military asset making armed forces safer and more effective.
On May 15, 2008, the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA., awarded Lockheed Martin a contract to build the next-generation Global Positioning System, known as GPS III.
GPS III will improve position, navigation and timing services and provide advanced anti-jam capabilities yielding superior system security, accuracy and reliability. The first GPS III satellites will deliver signals three times more accurate than current GPS spacecraft and provide three times more power for military users, while also enhancing the spacecraft’s design life and adding a new civil signal designed to be interoperable with international global navigation satellite systems.
Lockheed Martin has completed a major integration and test event on the program's satellite pathfinder, known as the GPS III Non-Flight Satellite Testbed (GNST). The milestone is a key indication that the GPS III team is on track to deliver the first satellite for launch availability in 2014.
In Lockheed Martin's new GPS Processing Facility (GPF), engineers successfully powered on the GNST with major elements of its Navigation Payload to include advanced atomic clocks for improved GPS accuracy, and the Mission Data Unit, the heart of the GPS III navigation payload. The test was completed in advance of integrating the full Navigation Payload Element, which is scheduled for delivery to the GPF this fall.
The GPS III program will affordably replace aging GPS satellites while improving capability to meet the evolving demands of military, commercial and civilian users worldwide. GPS III satellites will deliver better accuracy and improved anti-jamming power while enhancing the spacecraft's design life and adding a new civil signal designed to be interoperable with international global navigation satellite systems.
Incorporating lessons learned from previous GPS programs, the Air Force initiated a "back-to-basics" acquisition approach for GPS III. The strategy emphasizes early investments in rigorous systems engineering and industry-leading parts standards to significantly reduce risk, improve production predictability, increase mission assurance and lower overall program costs. These investments early in the GPS III program are designed to prevent the types of engineering issues discovered on other programs late in the manufacturing process or even on orbit.
As production progresses on the first GPS III satellite, the team has already benefited from lessons learned on the GNST. Early efficiencies identified include:
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