June 15th, 2019
5 months after being awarded the GPS Control Segment Sustainment II (GCS II) contract, Lockheed Martin has began delivering on that contract.
On Might 22 the Colorado-based firm transferred the GPS III Contingency Operations (COps) software program improve to the US Air Power. This improve can be added to the present GPS floor management system and will permit the USAF to start out working the brand new GPS III spacecraft alongside their GPS II predecessors.
“Positioning, Navigation and Timing is a essential mission for our nation and COps will permit the Air Power to realize early entry to its new GPS III satellites,” mentioned Johnathon Caldwell, Lockheed Martin’s vice chairman for Navigation Methods through a company-issued launch. “We simply completed Closing Qualification Testing and supply on COps, and it is going to be built-in and put in on the AEP OCS over the summer time. We sit up for the Air Power ‘flying’ a GPS constellation on the COps OCS which incorporates the brand new GPS III satellites, later this 12 months.”
AEP OCS is scheduled to endure one other improve a while subsequent 12 months (2020) through the M-Code Early Use (MCEU). Given the threats of the fashionable age, it’s hoped that this improve will safe the system in opposition to anti-jamming and different risks the constellation faces.
Whereas software program is sweet, on this case, it’s that will get the job carried out. The brand new GPS III spacecraft are being produced now, with one already deployed (it was launched in Dec. 2018 atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket). The second satellite tv for pc (GPS III SV01) within the sequence is at present scheduled to launch in July (2019), 4 months after its arrival at Cape Canaveral.
If issues proceed to go as deliberate, AEP OCS will “modernize and maintain” the GPS fleet by way of 2025. Lockheed Martin has been chosen to supply 32 GPS III/IIIF spacecraft. The software program supporting this fleet requires upgrades at common intervals.
It will likely be some time, the launch of the eleventh GPS III satellite tv for pc, however finally the spacecraft will, in response to a launch issued by Lockheed Martin: “...embody a totally digital navigation payload, Regional Navy Safety, an accuracy-enhancing laser retroreflector array, and a Search & Rescue payload” – which can be part of the IIIF constellation’s capabilities.
It’s onerous to put multi-million greenback satellites on orbit, however making certain the programs on the bottom are in a position to make use of them successfully is not any small activity both. GPS Structure Evolution Plan Operational Management System (AEP OCS) is design to assist deal with working each the GPS II spacecraft on orbit, in addition to the GPS III system that may substitute it. AEP OCS ought to stay in service till the Operational Management System (OCX) Block 1 comes into service.
In accordance with Lockheed Martin: GPS III will ship thrice higher accuracy and supply as much as eight occasions improved anti-jamming capabilities. GPS III’s new L1C civil sign will make it the primary GPS satellite tv for pc to be interoperable with different worldwide world navigation satellite tv for pc programs.
Jason Rhian spent a number of years honing his expertise with internships at NASA, the Nationwide Area Society and different organizations. He has supplied content material for retailers resembling: Aviation Week & Area Expertise, Area.com, The Mars Society and Universe In the present day.