US: Harris Corporation will provide a complete digital navigation payload for GPS III Space Vehicles (SV) 11 and beyond, the company announced on Monday. It is believed that the digital navigation payload will add value to the U.S. Air Force’s GPS mission by offering enhanced performance and enabling on-orbit reprogramming.
The all-digital payload expands on the advanced features of the current 70-percent digital solution Harris provides for Lockheed Martin’s GPS III SV 1-8 satellites. The features provide greater flexibility, affordability and accuracy versus existing satellites and include an advanced modular design, atomic clock timing systems, radiation-hardened computers and powerful transmitters.
The new payload combines innovative digital capabilities developed by Harris and Exelis, now a part of Harris. In 2013, Exelis successfully demonstrated digital navigation signal capability in a formal preliminary design review conducted by the Air Force. The payload also leverages the mature Technology Readiness Level 9 legacy Harris reconfigurable payload that is flying on the International Space Station and is incorporated on hosted payloads for the Iridium NEXT satellite.
“We are dedicated to the U.S. Air Force’s GPS mission and continue to invest our research and development funds to ensure performance that exceeds expectations and that is low risk to implement on future platforms,” said Bill Gattle, president, Harris Space & Intelligence Systems.
Harris has more than 500 digital processors on-orbit and another 150 awaiting launch. Harris navigation payloads have been on all of the 80-plus U.S. GPS satellites launched since the 1970s — with more than 750 years of on-orbit life without a payload-related failure. Harris has delivered more than 100 digital payloads, which have performed flawlessly on-orbit.