GPS III satellite will help modernize GPS constellation

July 09, 2019 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
GPS III satellite will help modernize GPS constellation
Providing the GPS satellite constellation with a technology upgrade and more advanced capabilities, the second next-generation, Lockheed-Martin-built GPS III satellite – nick-named "Magellan" by the U.S. Air Force – is ready for its planned July 25 launch.

On June 26, Lockheed Martin Space and United Launch Alliance (ULA) technicians completed encapsulating GPS III Space Vehicle 02 (GPS III SV02) in its launch fairings at the company's Astrotech Space Operations facility, where the satellite has undergone pre-launch processing and fueling since its March 19 arrival in Florida. This final step enclosed GPS III SV02 in a protective, aerodynamic, nose-cone shell.

The enclosed GPS III SV02 satellite will be mounted to a ULA Delta IV rocket for launch. The current window for launch on July 25 opens at 10:55 a.m. ET.

"GPS III SV02 is launching just a brisk seven months after the first GPS III satellite lifted off back in December. The first satellite's performance during on-orbit testing has exceeded expectations," said Johnathon Caldwell, Lockheed Martin's vice president for Navigation Systems.

GPS III satellite production and launch cadence is picking up. On May 27, the Air Force declared the next GPS III satellite, GPS III SV03, "Available for Launch," pending an official launch date.


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