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Prototype backward-compatible with existing GPS satellite constellation

US: The Lockheed Martin prototype of the next-generation Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite, the GPS III, recently proved it was backward-compatible with the existing GPS satellite constellation in orbit. During tests Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Nonflight Satellite Testbed (GNST), a full-sized, functional satellite prototype currently residing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, successfully communicated via cross-links with Air Force flight-like hardware simulators for the GPS IIR, GPS IIR-M, and GPS IIF satellites, which make up the bulk of the current GPS satellite constellation. Testing also demonstrated the ability of an Air Force receiver to track navigation signals transmitted by the GNST.

“These tests represent the first time when the GNST’s flight-like hardware has communicated with flight-like hardware from the rest of the GPS constellation and with a navigation receiver,” explained Paul Miller, Lockheed Martin’s director for GPS III Development. “This provides early confidence in the GPS III’s design to bring advanced capabilities to our nation, while also being backward-compatible.”

Source: Defense world