Lockheed Martin, which constructed the modernized Global Positioning System Block IIR -- GPS IIR-M -- satellite, said it was boosted into orbit on March 15 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station by a United Launch Alliance -- ULA -- Delta II launch vehicle.
Lockheed Martin said the com-sat's designation was GPS IIR-19M and that it was the sixth of eight GPS IIR satellites that Lockheed Martin Navigation Systems, Valley Forge, Pa., was upgrading under a contract with the Global Positioning Systems Wing, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.
The launch confirmed a pattern of rapid launches and rapidity in the GPS IIR-M program, the company said. The launch was the third successful satellite in less than five months. Another two Block IIR-M satellites are scheduled for launch this year to maintain and boost the capabilities of the GPS satellite constellation currently operating.
Every IIR-M satellite is equipped with a modernized antenna panel that gives it boosted signal power for receivers on the ground, two new military signals for improved accuracy, enhanced encryption and anti-jamming capabilities for the U.S. armed forces, and a second civil signal that can give users an open access signal on a different frequency, Lockheed Martin said.
"All of us at Lockheed Martin are proud of our long-standing partnership with the Air Force and the Block IIR-M's impressive record of performance," said Don DeGryse, Lockheed Martin's vice president of Navigation Systems.
"We look forward to conducting another timely and efficient on-orbit checkout so that the war fighter and civil users around the globe can benefit from this satellite's advanced navigational capabilities as quickly as possible."