U.S. Air Force Successfully Launches Upgraded GPS Satellite Built By Lockheed Martin
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., 06-NOV-04 -- A Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT]—built Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite was successfully launched today by the U.S. Air Force from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. This was the 12th successful launch of the new-generation GPS IIR spacecraft.
The satellite, designated GPS IIR-13, will join 29 other operational GPS satellites now on orbit, and will improve global coverage and increase the overall performance of the GPS constellation. The company has delivered eight more of these satellites to the Navstar GPS Joint Program Office, Space and Missile Systems Center, to sustain the GPS constellation.
“With the successful launch of GPS IIR-13, the world-wide navigation system for both military and civil users is more robust than ever, said Dave Podlesney, GPS IIR Program Director, Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Valley Forge, Pa. “We take great pride in our partnership with the Air Force in carrying out the important mission of the GPS system and look forward to providing significantly improved positioning capabilities as we transition to the modernized fleet of IIR spacecraft.
The Global Positioning System allows any properly equipped user to determine precise time and velocity and worldwide latitude, longitude and altitude to within a few meters. Although originally designed as a guidance and navigational tool for the military, GPS has proven beneficial in the commercial and civil markets for a number of activities, including transportation, surveying and rescue operations.
The GPS IIR satellites are compatible with the current system and provide improved navigation accuracy, achieved by using an ITT Industries payload system. Additionally, increased autonomy and longer spacecraft life are inherent in the Lockheed Martin satellite design.
To bring new capabilities to the GPS constellation, Lockheed Martin is under contract to modernize up to eight existing GPS IIR spacecraft already built and in storage. These spacecraft, designated GPS IIR-M, will incorporate two new military signals and a second civil signal, thus providing military and civilian users of the navigation system with improved capabilities much sooner than previously envisioned.
Lockheed Martin is performing GPS modernization at its Space Systems facilities in Valley Forge, Pa., and ITT Industries in Clifton, N.J. The first launch of a GPS IIR-M satellite is scheduled for May 2005.
Lockheed Martin is also leading a team to develop the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation Global Positioning System, GPS III. The team, which includes Spectrum Astro, Raytheon, ITT, and General Dynamics, is currently under contract for GPS III concept definition and plans to compete for the future development.
GPS III will address the challenging military transformational and civil needs across the globe, including advanced anti-jam capabilities, improved system security and accuracy, and reliability. The new satellite system will enhance space-based navigation and performance and set a new world standard for positioning and timing services. The team selected to meet this challenge will provide system and sustaining engineering, satellite development and production, control segment upgrades, and continuous research and development for this evolutionary system.