Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract worth $21.5 million to develop a Launch and Checkout Capability (LCC) to control and command the GPS III satellites in order to guide the satellites from launch to on-orbit testing.
The LCC, integrated into an advanced Operational Control System (OCX) developed by Raytheon, will ensure that the first GPS III launches in 2014. The LCC will include engineering solutions and skilled satellite operators to support the launch of the satellite along with their early orbit operations as well as checkout before the spacecraft is handed over to the US Air Force Space Command.
The Director of the GPS Directorate, Col Bernard Gruber stated that in order to introduce advanced GPS capabilities, achieving the initial launch capability by 2014 will prove critical and will also ensure that the production pace of the GPS III program continues as planned, with reduced long term costs and maximum efficiency.
The GPS III program will replace older GPS satellites while meeting the demanding needs of the civilian, commercial and military users worldwide, with improved capabilities. The GPS III satellites will improve position and navigation accuracy and provide anti-jamming capabilities while adding a civil signal, which will be interoperable with the international Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS).
The Vice President of Navigation Systems at Lockheed Martin, Joe Trench stated that an extremely committed and talented industry and government GPS team is focused on efficient and affordable execution of the GPS III program.