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Lockheed Martin nears completion of GPS III satellite

The satellite is the third built by Lockheed and is part of a planned order of 10 to form a new GPS network for the U.S. military.

By Stephen Carlson
Lockheed Martin nears completion of GPS III satellite
The second of 10 planned satellites for the GPS III system, pictured, has been finished and is undergoing environmental and other tests, and Lockheed Martin said is has expects the third satellite to be done later this fall. The remaining seven satellites are also all currently under construction. Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin

June 26 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin is nearly finished with its third GPS III satellite, part of a planned order of 10 to form a new GPS network for the U.S. military.

The GPS III network is meant to provide greater accuracy for air, ground, and sea-based GPS systems. It features anti-jamming systems that are supposed to be up to 8 times more effective than other satellites. The first GPS III satellite SV01 has been delivered to the Air Force and is expected to launch in 2018.

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"Now fully-integrated, GPS III SV02 will begin environmental testing this summer to ensure the satellite is ready for the rigors of space," Martin Mark Stewart, vice president of Navigation Systems for Lockheed, said in a press release.

"This testing simulates harsh launch and space environments the satellite will endure, and further reduces any risk prior to it being available for launch in 2018."

The GPS III program is being lead by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Parts for the final two satellites have already been delivered.

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GPS has been in use for decades by the U.S. military for navigation by ground, air, and sea forces. It is also used in many bombs and missiles as a precision strike guidance system such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition and other weapons.

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