CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION: A modernized Global Positioning System Block IIR (GPS IIR-M) satellite, designed and built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Air Force, was successfully launched today from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket.
Designated GPS IIR-21(M), the satellite is the final in a line of eight GPS IIR-M spacecraft that the Lockheed Martin Navigation Systems team in Newtown, Pa., modernized for its customer, the Global Positioning Systems Wing, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.
“The successful launch of this final satellite in the GPS IIR-M program is a true testament to the dedication, skill and operational excellence of our joint government-industry team,” said Col. Dave Madden, the U.S. Air Force’s GPS Wing Commander. “We look forward to successfully executing a smooth and efficient on-orbit checkout and making this advanced satellite operational for the warfighter and civil users around the globe.”
The Block IIR-M series includes features that enhance operations and navigation signal performance for military and civilian GPS users around the globe – specifically a modernized antenna panel that provides increased signal power to receivers on the ground, two new military signals for improved accuracy, enhanced encryption and anti-jamming capabilities, and a second civil signal, providing users with an open access signal on a different frequency.
Building on its success in providing progressively advanced spacecraft for the GPS constellation, Lockheed Martin is developing the next-generation GPS III spacecraft to improve position, navigation and timing services for users worldwide. The first block of the new generation satellites, known as GPS IIIA, will deliver significant enhancements over current GPS space vehicles, including a new international civil signal (L1C), and increased M-Code anti-jam power with full earth coverage for military users.
“Lockheed Martin is incredibly proud of the success of this program and I applaud the joint team’s hard work and perseverance in reaching this major milestone,” said Don DeGryse, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of Navigation Systems. “The successful launch of this final satellite in the GPS IIR program exemplifies not only our commitment to designing and building high-performance spacecraft, but also to delivering 100 percent mission success for our customer. We look forward to delivering even greater capabilities with the launch of the first GPS III satellite.”
The satellite launched today will join six IIR-M satellites and 12 other operational Block IIR satellites within the current 30-spacecraft constellation. Air Force Space Command’s 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS), based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Newtown, Pa., is the prime contractor for the GPS IIR program. The company designed and built 21 IIR spacecraft. ITT, Clifton, N.J. supplied all 21 navigation payloads for both the IIR and IIR-M spacecraft.
The Lockheed Martin-led GPS III team is progressing on schedule, with first launch of a GPS IIIA satellite on track for 2014. The program team recently completed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) phase and is now in the midst of the Critical Design Review (CDR) phase.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 146,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.