New York, US: Lockheed Martin awarded a USD 32 million contract to ITT Exelis to build the navigation payloads for the GPS III space vehicles three and four. Exelis announced in December 2011 that it had successfully integrated and performed the initial power up of the full-size payload prototype known as GPS III Non-Flight Satellite Testbed (GNST) Navigation Payload Element.
“Exelis payloads have been on board every GPS spacecraft—a period spanning nearly 40 years. We are tremendously proud to be a part of the next generation of GPS satellites,” said Mark Pisani, vice president and general manager, Precision Instruments and Positioning, Navigation and Timing Systems, ITT Exelis Geospatial Systems. “Together with Lockheed Martin, Exelis is committed to providing our warfighters and commercial and civilian users more accurate and reliable capabilities that improve interoperability and jam-resistance.”
Exelis was selected along with Lockheed Martin in 2008 by the US Air Force to build the next-generation GPS III program. The GPS III team is led by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at the US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.
“The GPS III satellites and their superior navigation payloads are critical to sustaining and modernising the GPS constellation and we are focused on delivering these spacecraft affordably and efficiently to meet the needs of more than one billion users worldwide,” said Keoki Jackson, Lockheed Martin’s GPS III program director.
Scheduled for first launch in 2014, GPS III satellites will deliver significant improvements compared with current GPS space vehicles. The GPS III program will affordably replace aging GPS satellites while improving capability to meet the evolving needs of military, commercial and civilian users worldwide. GPS III satellites will deliver better accuracy and improved anti-jamming power while enhancing the spacecraft’s design life and adding a new civil signal designed to be interoperable with international global navigation satellite systems.
Source: ITT Exelis