This summer, Lockheed Martin-developed GPS satellites already in orbit will participate in testing of a new modernized civilian navigation message (CNAV) capability which will further enhance GPS navigation service to global users.
In March, the U.S. Air Force Space Command announced plans to begin formal testing of the new CNAV capability on the operational GPS constellation during the summer of 2013. These tests will ensure enterprise-level readiness to operate, broadcast and receive modernized civil navigation messages using L2C and L5 signals prior to the expected deployment of the Next Generation Operational Control System (OCX) in mid-2016. Lockheed Martin- developed GPS IIR satellites comprise the majority of the modernized space vehicles (SV) currently available on orbit and will play a primary role in this testing.
GPS Block IIR satellites, built in conjunction with our primary navigation payload subcontractor ITT/Exelis, were first launched in 1997. The final eight satellites delivered, designated IIR-M SVs were upgraded versions of the original IIR vehicles, bringing enhanced capability to include a new L2C civilian signal, as well as two new military signals, L1M and L2M. One of the modernized satellites was also instrumental in retaining the U.S. signal frequency allocation for the new civilian L5 signal when it first broadcast at that frequency in early 2009. The IIR and IIR-M SVs currently make up nearly two thirds of the on-orbit GPS constellation supporting billions of users globally.
The CNAV testing planned for this summer is the next major step in the Air Force’s GPS modernization program. The testing is critical in checking out Control Segment capabilities, operational procedures, SV capabilities, and user equipment design.
“Testing using the modernized CNAV data on L2C, as well as separate testing of the modernized military navigation message (MNAV) data on L1M and L2M, has been conducted in several phases since the first Lockheed Martin Block IIR-M space vehicle launched in 2005,” explained Bill Meersman, Lockheed Martin’s director, Military Space Operations, Sustainment and Logistics. “The Lockheed Martin GPS Block IIR-M SV and our operations support team at Schriever AFB CO, stand ready to support these new modernized capabilities in service to the global users.”