Space Systems Command Launches Inquiry for Next-Gen GPS Prototype Development - Inside GNSS - Global Navigation Satellite Systems Engineering, Policy, and Design

Space Systems Command Launches Inquiry for Next-Gen GPS Prototype Development

The U.S. Space Systems Command (SSC), part of the United States Space Force, is actively seeking insights from the GNSS industry through a Request for Information (RFI) regarding the development of a Global Positioning System (GPS) Rapid Prototype Demonstration, termed Tranche 0.

This initiative is part of a strategic endeavor to upgrade GPS capabilities to better meet modern challenges in space navigation and ensure continued operational superiority. The RFI was first reported by C4ISRNET.

Purpose and Scope of the RFI

This RFI is aimed at collecting information on the capabilities within the industry to innovate and deliver solutions that can enhance the GPS infrastructure. The focus is on identifying technologies and approaches that can reduce the size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C) of future GPS satellites, streamline their production and launch processes, and improve compatibility with a variety of launch vehicles.

Project Highlights

The stated goal of Tranche 0 is to prototype and demonstrate a satellite capable of emitting a subset of GPS signals that align with current user equipment. The operation of this prototype in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), approximately 20,000 km above Earth, aims to test and validate these innovations in a real-world setting.

The SSC’s approach encourages collaboration, inviting both established and emerging players in the industry to showcase their abilities in rapid development, fabrication, and integration of GPS payloads. This collaborative spirit is highlighted as a key component of the RFI, reflecting the SSC’s interest in leveraging a wide range of expertise to achieve the project’s goals.

Security Measures and Industry Guidance

Respondents to the RFI are reminded to adhere to security protocols, ensuring that all submissions are unclassified, though they may include Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) if properly marked. The SSC has also provided references to essential GPS Interface Control Documents (ICDs) and Performance Standards, guiding potential vendors in aligning their responses with specific technical requirements.

View the full RFI on here.