DENVER, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. company Lockheed Martin says three more Global Positioning Systems satellites are due to be launched next year.
"The Global Positioning Systems Wing, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is planning to launch the three remaining GPS IIR-M satellites next year, one of which will include a new demonstration payload that will temporarily transmit a third civil signal, known as L5," the company said in a statement last week.
"The Global Positioning System enables properly equipped users to determine precise time and velocity and worldwide latitude, longitude and altitude to within a few meters," Lockheed Martin said.
Lockheed Martin said it was "leading a team which includes ITT and General Dynamics in the competition to build the U.S. Air Force's next-generation Global Positioning System, GPS Block III."
"The next-generation program will improve position, navigation, and timing services for the war fighter and civil users worldwide and provide advanced anti-jam capabilities yielding improved system security, accuracy and reliability," the company said.
"A multibillion-dollar development contract is scheduled to be awarded by the Global Positioning Systems Wing, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., in early 2008," Lockheed Martin said.
There are currently four IIR-M satellites and 12 other operational Block IIR satellites within the current 28-spacecraft constellation. "The team is currently preparing the fifth GPS IIR-M satellite for its scheduled launch on Dec. 20 from Cape Canaveral," Lockheed Martin said.
Lockheed Martin has a global staff of about 140,000. The company says it "is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services" and it said it had 2006 sales of $39.6 billion.