Lockheed Martin has completed antenna assemblies for the first of eight
GPS III satellites that will replace aging craft orbiting the Earth.
The satellite system is critical to civilian, commercial and military
communications operated under U.S. Air Force oversight. Lockheed Martin
is the prime contractor in a program that includes several other
aviation and space manufacturers.
Delivery of the equipment included the navigation, communication and
hosted payload antenna assemblies for the first satellite of the next
generation Global Positioning System.
The antenna assemblies were produced at Lockheed Martin's Newtown, Pa.,
facility and were delivered to the company's GPS III Processing Facility
near Denver, Colo., June 14, the company announced Monday. In all,
seven antenna assemblies were delivered.
The equipment will be installed on the first GPS III space vehicle
called SV01, which is due for "flight-ready" delivery to the Air Force
With the new antenna assemblies in place, the SV01 will be able to send
or receive data for Earth-coverage and military Earth-coverage
Other capabilities for the system include an ultra-high-frequency
crosslink for inter-satellite data transfer, telemetry, tracking and
control for satellite-ground communications.
Data acquisition and communication for a nuclear detection system hosted payload is also provided in the system.
The antenna designs enable three to eight times greater anti-jamming
signal power to be broadcast to military users across the globe when
compared with previous GPS configurations.
"These antennas on the next generation of GPS III satellites will
transmit data utilized by more than one billion users with navigation,
positioning and timing needs," Keoki Jackson, vice president of Lockheed
Martin's Navigation Systems mission area, said.Â
"We have become reliant on GPS for providing signals that affect
everything from cellphones and wristwatches, to shipping containers and
commercial air traffic, to [automated teller machines] and financial
Lockheed Martin says GPS III is a critically important program for the
Air Force, affordably replacing aging GPS satellites in orbit, while
improving capability to meet the evolving demands of military,
commercial and civilian users.Â
GPS III satellites will deliver three times better accuracy, include
enhancements that extend spacecraft life 25 percent beyond the prior GPS
block, and a new civil signal designed to be interoperable with
international global navigation satellite systems.Â
Lockheed Martin is under contract to produce the first four GPS III
satellites and received advanced procurement funding for long-lead
components for the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth satellites.Â
Tests in June produced positive results, leading to high-fidelity path-finding events.
GPS satellites are used by the NAVSTAR GPS. Navstar 1, the first
satellite in the system, was launched Feb. 22, 1978. The GPS satellite
constellation is operated by the Air Force's 50th Space Wing. Rockwell
International was awarded a contract in 1974 to build the first eight
Block I satellites for the program.
Hailed as "an innovative investment" by the Air Force under the original
GPS III development contract, recent tests aimed to identify and
resolve development issues before integration and test of the first
The company says the Air Force has adopted a rigorous "back-to-basics"
acquisition approach, significantly reducing risk and lowering costs.
Lockheed Martin has headquarters in Bethesda, Md., and employs 118,000
people worldwide. The company reported net sales of $47.2 billion last
Original Story >