18 Dec 2017

GPS III and OCX Successfully complete factory mission readiness test

The first advanced GPS III satellite has successfully established remote connectivity and communicated with the Next Generation Operational Control System (OCX).

November saw GPS III Space Vehicle 01 (GPS III SV01), the first of 10 GPS III satellites designed by Lockheed Martin and OCX and developed by Raytheon successfully complete Factory Mission Readiness Testing.

The milestone takes the launch of the US Air Force’s modernized Global Positioning System (GPS) first satellite one step closer.

The test validated the command and control interaction between GPS III and the OCX’s Launch and Checkout System (LCS) through a simulated full launch and early orbit mission event sequence.

During this end-to-end system demonstration, command signals were sent from the latest OCX LCS software installed at Lockheed Martin’s Launch and Check Out Capability node in Denver to Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado. From there, the commands were uplinked back to the GPS III SV01 satellite, currently awaiting a call up for launch at Lockheed Martin.

Mark Stewart, Lockheed Martin’s Vice President for Navigation Systems, said: “During FMRT, GPS III SV01 received and successfully processed OCX commands that are routinely sent during launch, transfer orbit manoeuvres, deployments and payload initialization. We thoroughly tested the first GPS III satellite just like we are going to fly it in 2018.”

GPS III will have three times greater accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities. Spacecraft life will extend to 15 years, 25% longer than the newest GPS satellites on-orbit today. GPS III’s new L1C civil signal also will make it the first GPS satellite to be interoperable with other international global navigation satellite systems, like Galileo.

image © Lockheed Martin

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