The Lockheed Martin-built GPS satellite, launched successfully Nov. 6 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., has been declared fully operational for military and civilian navigation users around the globe.
The GPS constellation now comprises 30 satellites and includes 12 fully operational Block IIR spacecraft built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Valley Forge, Pa. The GPS IIR satellites were developed to improve global coverage and increase the overall performance of the global positioning system.
The GPS IIR team is now gearing up for the launch of the first modernized IIR satellite scheduled for liftoff in May 2005 from Cape Canaveral. To further enhance the GPS constellation, Lockheed Martin is modernizing the remaining eight IIR satellites for its customer, the Navstar GPS Joint Program Office, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.
These spacecraft, designated GPS IIR-M, will incorporate two new military signals and a second civil signal, thus providing military and civilian users of the navigation system with improved capabilities much sooner than previously envisioned. The team is also prepared to support a launch in March 2005 if required for constellation sustainment.