DENVER, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- U.S. company Lockheed Martin said Wednesday its new GPS IIR-M satellite had been designated as fully operational.
"The modernized Global Positioning System Block IIR -- GPS IIR-M satellite, launched from Cape Canaveral on Dec. 20, 2007, has been declared fully operational for military and civilian navigation users around the globe, following a record-setting on-orbit deployment by a joint U.S. Air Force/Lockheed Martin team," the company said in a statement.
Lockheed Martin said its operations team "assisted Air Force Space Command's 2nd Space Operations Squadron -- 2 SOPS -- and its Reserve associate unit 19 SOPS based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. with the launch and early orbit operations. The team conducted the on-orbit deployment and checkout of all spacecraft systems in just over three days. Upon completion of navigation payload initialization, the satellite was declared operational on Jan. 2 for both civil and military users."
"Designated GPS IIR-18M, the satellite is the fifth in a series of eight Block IIR-M spacecraft that Lockheed Martin Navigation Systems has modernized for its customer, the Global Positioning Systems Wing, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. The Block IIR-M series includes new features that enhance operations and navigation signal performance for military and civilian GPS users around the globe," the company said.
"After launch, our aim was to achieve a new level of performance for our Air Force customer by allowing another sophisticated GPS IIR-M satellite to begin service as quickly and efficiently as possible," said Don DeGryse, Lockheed Martin's vice president of Navigation Systems. "This record-setting on-orbit achievement -- as well as the overall success of the GPS IIR-M program -- is a great testament to the close collaboration and partnership between the Lockheed Martin and Air Force team."
"Representing the second successful GPS IIR-M mission in just two months, the satellite joins four IIR-M satellites and 12 other operational Block IIR satellites within the current 30-spacecraft constellation," the company said.