DENVER, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin says the U.S. Air Force has declared its new GPS Block IIR satellite operational.
"The modernized Global Positioning System Block IIR -- GPS IIR-M -- satellite, launched from Cape Canaveral on Oct. 17, has been declared fully operational for military and civilian navigation users around the globe, following a successful on-orbit checkout by a combined U.S. Air Force/Lockheed Martin team," the company said in a statement last week.
"The satellite, designated GPS IIR-17M, is the fourth in a series of eight Block IIR-M satellites that bring new capabilities to military and civilian users of the GPS system," Lockheed Martin said.
"Each GPS IIR-M satellite features a modernized antenna panel that provides increased signal power to receivers on the ground, two new military signals for improved accuracy, enhanced encryption and anti-jamming capabilities for the military, and a second civil signal that will provide users with an open access signal on a different frequency," the company said.
"... The team once again demonstrated its ability to rapidly move another high-performance GPS IIR-M spacecraft into operations for the user," said Don DeGryse, Lockheed Martin's vice president of Navigation Systems.
Lockheed Martin said its operations team "conducted the on-orbit deployment and checkout of all spacecraft systems in just over six days, allowing Air Force Space Command's 2nd Space Operations Squadron -- 2 SOPS -- based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., to conduct the navigation payload initialization. The satellite was subsequently declared operational on Oct. 31 for both civil and military users."
"The satellite joins three 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, 2007, from Cape Canaveral," the company said.