According to a recent press release from Lockheed Martin, the team developing the U.S. Air Force’s next generation Global Positioning System (GPS) recently turned on power to the bus and network communications equipment payload, demonstrating the satellite’s mechanical integration and interface validation, while leading the way for electrical and integration testing.
The program’s second satellite designated GPS III Space Vehicle 2 (SV-02) was powered on December, 19, 2013, at Lockheed Martin’s Denver-area GPS III Processing Facility (GPS), marking a major milestone in the process. Mark Stewart, vice president for Lockheed Martin’s Navigation Systems mission area, said in the release, “The GPS III SV-02 bus power on is a significant milestone, positioning SV-02 in line with the Air Force’s first GPS III space vehicle, SV-01, in our GPF, where both satellites are progressing through sequential integration and test work stations specifically designed for efficient and affordable satellite production.”
The GPS III program is set to replace aging GPS satellites, while also improving capability to meet the evolving demands of military, commercial and civilian users. The program aims to deliver three times better accuracy, provide up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities, and will include enhancements which extend spacecraft life 25% further than the previous GPS block.
The powering on of the U.S. Air Force’s latest GPS paves the way for electrical and integration testing as the project continues to make significant strides.