As manufacturer of the U.S. Air Force's next generation Global Positioning System III satellites, the Lockheed Martin team has supplied the first spacecraft's propulsion core module to Lockheed’s Denver-area GPS Processing Facility (GPF).
This achievement represents the satellite's initial Assembly, Integration and Test activities in the GPF and marks the program's first major hardware delivery for GPS III Space Vehicle 1.
With integrated propulsion system, the propulsion core will function as the satellite’s structural backbone. The propulsion subsystem was designed and validated at Lockheed Martin's Mississippi Space & Technology Center, and controls the GPS III satellite during transfer orbit to its destination in addition to hosting on-orbit repositioning maneuvers across its mission life.
Lockheed Martin initiative allows the propulsion system to ensure better manufacturability of GPS III satellite. Also, there was 25% decrease in plumbing routing and welds, leading to improved cost efficiency and reduced cycle time for all GPS III production satellites.
The team is fielding the GPS III Non-Flight Satellite Testbed (GNST), full-sized satellite prototype, in order to mitigate risks and the entire program expenses for the government. The approach will recognize and meet the development issues before the first GPS III satellite is integrated or validated.
The GPS III program will economically substitute aging GPS satellites in addition to efficiently catering to the requirements of commercial, military, and civilian users. GPS III satellites will provide improved precision and anti-jamming power, besides improving the spacecraft's design life and supplementing new civil signal that will be functional with international global navigation satellite systems.
In 2008, Lockheed Martin received the contract for the design, development and production of the GNST and the first two GPS III satellites, available with priced options for up to 10 additional satellites. The Air Force invested $238 M option for manufacture of the next two satellites, GPS III space vehicles three and four, in early 2012. The Air Force will procure up to 32 GPS III satellites.