Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have achieved the first launch readiness exercise feat for the U.S. Air Force's advanced GPS III satellites. The exercise is a major breakthrough marking that the team remains on schedule to be achieve launch availability in the year 2014.
The Raytheon-developed OCX, which is an advanced GPS operational control system, and The Lockheed Martin-built GPS III satellites form a major part of the U.S. Air Force's active initiative to replace old GPS satellites and also to enable satisfying the growing demands of global commercial, military, and civilian users. This serves to be the foremost space and ground enterprise creating the ground control and space vehicles with the efforts of two independent prime contractors.
This three day long successful accomplishment, the launch readiness exercise by mission operations personnel has proven the basic satellite command and control functions, in addition to validating the software and hardware interfaces and also demonstrating basic on-console procedures needed for space vehicle contacts while under launch and early orbit mission. The event promotes the mission readiness timeline for first GPS III satellite comprising of six, five day mission rehearsals and five short-duration exercises for launch.
In order to attain the first launch availability in the 2014 portfolio, the U.S. Air Force has presented Lockheed Martin and Raytheon with contracts during 2012 January for delivering Launch and Checkout Capability (LCC), through which all GPS III satellites will be launched as well as early on-orbit tested. Raytheon's Launch and Checkout System will deliver satellite command and control capability, which is a major OCX's support of the first GPS III launch.
The GPS III team is directed by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate located at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. The GPS constellation for civil and military users is being controlled through Air Force Space Command.