Future GPS: The USA’s GPS-III Programs
July 9/19: GPS III SV02 ready Lockheed Martin announced that its second next-generation GPS III satellite is all set and ready for its planned launch on July 25. According to a news release published by the company, Lockheed Martin Space and United Launch Alliance (ULA) technicians completed encapsulating GPS III Space Vehicle 02 in its launch fairings at the company’s Astrotech Space Operations facility, where the satellite has undergone pre-launch processing and fueling since its arrival in March. This final step enclosed GPS III SV02 in a protective, aerodynamic, nose-cone shell. GPS Block III’s purpose is to keep the Navstar Global Positioning System operational. The first satellite in the series launched in December 2018. According to Lockheed, GPS III satellites will have three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities than its predecessors. Spacecraft life will extend to 15 years, 25 percent longer than the newest GPS satellites on-orbit today. In the next few days the second GPS III satellite will be mounted on a Delta IV rocket to prepare for the launch.
GPS-III satellites, in conjunction with their companion OCX ground control, system are the Global Positioning System (GPS) future. They offer big advantages over existing GPS-II satellites and GCS, but most of all, they have to work. Disruption or decay of the critical capabilities provided by the USA’s Navstar satellites would cripple both the US military, and many aspects of the global economy.
The time-based GPS service is the most-used application of Einstein’s Theories of Relativity. GPS has become part of civilian life in ways that go go far beyond those handy driving maps, including crop planting, timing services for stock trades, and a key role in credit card processing. At the same time, military class (M-code) GPS guidance can now be found in everything from cruise missiles and various precision-guided bombs, to battlefield rockets and even artillery shells. Combat search and rescue radios rely on this line of communication, and so does a broadening array of individual soldier equipment.
This DII FOCUS article looks at the existing constellation, GPS-III improvements, the program’s structure, its progress through contracts and key milestones, and extensive PTN (Positioning, Timing & Navigation)/ GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) research links.
GPS: The Existing Array
The GPS III Program
OCX & MGUE: New Ground Control & Receivers
GPS-III: Contracts and Key Events
FY 2014 – 2016
FY 2012 – 2013
FY 2010 – 2011
FY 2004 – 2009
GPS-III Program Background
Other GNSS Systems – and Alternatives
News and Views
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