Delta PDR for GPS III Deemed A Success by Lockheed Martin

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Delta Preliminary Design Review (dPDR) was successfully completed for the next group of GPS III satellites, according to Lockheed Martin. The GPS satellites are part of the US Air Force’s GPS III program to replace aging satellites and help those who rely on the GPS system more effectively.


The GPS III satellites feature eight times the anti-jamming signal power and are three times more accurate than our current system. The design life of the satellites is also improved, and a new civil signal will be added which works alongside international GNSS.


Lockheed Martin was awarded the contract to produce the first four GPS III satellites, and was granted advanced procurement funding for components of the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth GPS III satellite vehicles. The dPDR covers mutually agreed upon modifications to the satellite’s design, offering new capabilities for GPS III Space Vehicle (SV09) and after. The modifications include a search and rescue satellite payload and a Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA). New navigation signals can be added after launch thanks to a new waveform generator, allowing them to upgrade the constellation without requiring them to launch new satellites.


“We have worked very closely with the Air Force and GPS technology community to make GPS III the most affordable and lowest risk solution for bringing new capabilities to the GPS constellation. The design modifications from the dPDR address ways to further reduce Air Force launch costs by $50 million per satellite through dual launch of two GPS III space vehicles on a single booster,” said Lockheed Martin’s GPS III capability and affordability insertion manager John Frye. “This successful dPDR milestone sets the stage to proceed with SV09 maturation.”


Since the beginning of the program, Lockheed Martin has paid careful attention to affordability while at the same time ensuring the new GPS system is able to evolve with the world’s demand for GPS navigation and timing needs over the next 30 years. The GPS Non-Flight Satellite Testbed (GNST) was developed in order to lower both cost and risk, serving as the ground pathfinder and vehicle demonstrator for the very first satellite. All of the GPS III satellites developed will utilize the GNST in order to provide early verification of ground support and test equipment, space vehicle design level validation, and early confirmation and test of transportation operations.

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Khristen Foss

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