DENVER, April 8 (UPI) -- U.S. company Lockheed Martin said Monday its GPS IIR-M satellite launched nearly two months ago is now deployed.
The company said in a statement that a joint team of LM and U.S. Air Force engineers and technicians had finished work enabling the modernized Global Positioning System Block IIR -- GPS IIR-19M -- satellite fired into space March 15 from Cape Canaveral to quickly become operational.
The company said the GPS IIR-M carried upgrades that would boost its operations and navigation signal performance. The satellite is now active and serving both U.S. armed forces and civilian navigation users around the globe.
Lockheed Martin said its operations team worked with the U.S. 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., when the air force unit was preparing the spacecraft for its firing into space and for its early orbit maneuvers.
The process of organizing the on-orbit deployment and checkout of the satellite's systems then of activating its payload initialization was carried out in just over nine days, the company said.
Lockheed Martin said the operation was the third successful launch and in-orbit activation of a GPS IIR-M satellite in less than half a year. The spacecraft was one of the final three Block IIR-M satellites scheduled to be fired into orbit this year, the company said.
The next GPS satellite is scheduled to be fired into orbit from Cape Canaveral on June 30. That mission will carry the GPS IIR-20M satellite with a demonstration payload that will temporarily broadcast a new third civil signal, called L5.
"The successful launch and operational turnover of this modernized IIR satellite is a profound testament to the close collaboration and partnership between the Lockheed Martin and Air Force team," said Don DeGryse, Lockheed Martin's vice president of Navigation Systems.
"We take great pride in providing world class, high-performance GPS spacecraft at rapid cycle times and look forward to achieving mission success on the next modernized spacecraft launch which will feature a demonstration payload for the new civil signal," DeGryse said.
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