NEWTOWN, Pa., Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin has been chosen by the U.S. Air Force to provide launch and checkout capability during launch and early orbit testing of GPS satellites.
The contract is worth $21.5 million and extends to launch of the first GPS III satellite in 2014.
Lockheed said that under the award it will integrate its launch and checkout capability with Raytheon's Next Generation Operational Control System.
"Achieving initial launch capability in 2014 is critical to introducing new GPS capabilities on time and will enable the GPS III program to continue its production pace, maximize efficiencies and reduce long term costs for the GPS enterprise as a whole," said Col Bernard Gruber, director of the U.S. Air Force's Global Positioning Systems Directorate. "The Launch and Checkout Capability will ensure we can launch in 2014, effectively closing the time gap between GPS III and the Next Generation Operational Control System."
The GPS III satellite program is led by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center through its Global Positioning Systems Directorate.
Working with Lockheed on the GPS III program are ITT Exelis, General Dynamics, Infinity Systems Engineering.