First GPS III Flight Antenna Assemblies Delivered

By Frank Morring, Jr.
Source: Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
July 16, 2013
Credit: Lockheed Martin

DENVER — Lockheed Martin has completed seven antenna assemblies for the first in the GPS III series of Global Positioning System spacecraft and delivered them to the spacecraft assembly facility near Denver.

Fabricated at the company’s Newtown, Pa., facility, the assemblies will provide links for civil and military navigation signals; a UHF link to transfer data with other satellites in the GPS constellation; ground telemetry, tracking and control for the satellite, and a link for the nuclear-explosion detection payload hosted on the new spacecraft.

The military channels will provide eight times the power of previous GPS variants to overcome jamming, the company said.

“These antennas on the next generation of GPS III satellites will transmit data utilized by more than 1 billion users with navigation, positioning and timing needs,” said Keoki Jackson, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Navigation Systems mission area.

Jackson’s unit is under a U.S. Air Force contract to build the first four GPS III spacecraft, and has been forwarded funding to purchase long-lead items for the fifth through eighth satellites. The company also has built a ground-based pathfinder spacecraft to iron out production issues as early as possible.

Set for delivery in a flight-ready configuration next year, the first GPS III — designated SV 01 — has passed the necessary testing to clear the spacecraft bus for integration with the navigation payload. The SV 01 bus was powered up in February.

Subcontractors under Lockheed Martin’s prime for GPS III include ITT Exelis, General Dynamics, Infinity Systems Engineering, Honeywell and ATK.


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