Work on Air Force GPS moves forward

March 17, 2011 at 7:53 AM
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NEWTOWN, Pa., March 17 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin's software integration laboratory in Pennsylvania has completed a milestone in development of a new U.S. Air Force GPS system.

The company said a test event for the Global Positioning System III successfully integrated the initial flight software builds and flight-like computer processors for the satellite bus on-board computer, the navigation payload mission data unit and the communications payload thin communications unit.

The test demonstrated the ability to communicate between the GPS III satellite bus, network communications and navigation elements and is a key step in reducing risk for the program's flight software development.

"The entire government/industry team is focused on delivering GPS III affordably and efficiently to meet the ever-expanding needs of the nearly 1 billion GPS users worldwide," said Keoki Jackson, Lockheed Martin's GPS III program manager. "Completion of this flight software milestone demonstrates our continued positive momentum and is another step forward in reducing risk and increasing mission assurance for this vital program."

Lockheed said the GPS III team will work to fully qualify the flight software prior to integration on the GPS Non-Flight Satellite Testbed, which will serve as the program's ground pathfinder and vehicle demonstrator for the first complete GPS III satellite.

The entire GPS III development and production sequence will utilize the GNST to provide space vehicle design level validation; early verification of ground, support and test equipment; and early confirmation and rehearsal of transportation operations.

The program's Critical Design Review was completed last August. Having completed more than 50 percent of the program's Manufacturing Readiness Reviews and with completion of the first major flight software milestone, the team is on track to deliver the first GPS IIIA spacecraft as planned in 2014.

Lockheed Martin, with teammates ITT of Clifton, N.J., and General Dynamics of Scottsdale, Ariz., is under contract to deliver the first two GPS IIIA spacecraft to the Global Positioning Systems Directorate of the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.

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