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GPS satellite design review completed

July 6, 2011 at 8:58 AM

NEWTOWN, Pa., July 6 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin has successfully completed a system design review for the U.S. Air Force's Global Positioning System IIIB satellite increment.

The design review was completed on schedule under the Air Force's next-generation GPS III program to improve position, navigation and timing services and provide advanced anti-jam capabilities yielding superior system security, accuracy and reliability for users around the globe.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Newtown, Pa., is under contract to produce the first two of a planned eight GPS IIIA satellites. First launch is projected for 2014.

The contract, which features a "back-to-basics" acquisition approach, includes a Capability Insertion Program designed to mature technologies and perform rigorous systems engineering for future GPS III increments.

An important milestone that precedes the preliminary design review, the GPS IIIB SDR established requirements for the capability insertion planned for the follow-on GPS IIIB satellites and validated the satellite design will meet increasing demand of more than 1 billion GPS users worldwide.

"This milestone comes at a pivotal time when the need to affordably and predictably enhance the GPS constellation's capabilities is at an all-time high," said Lt. Col. Don Frew, the U.S. Air Force's GPS III program manager. "Thanks to hard work from the entire government and industry GPS III team, we have a solid, low-risk path to introduce critical new capabilities to billions of military, civil and commercial GPS users."

GPS IIIA will deliver signals three times more accurate than current GPS spacecraft and provide three times more power for military users.

The Lockheed Martin-led GPS III team includes ITT of Bloomfield, N.J., and General Dynamics of Scottsdale, Ariz.

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