June 13, 2019

GPS III: The Next Big Step in GPS Modernization

[Editor’s Note: This article was written and submitted by Mark Crews and John Betz.]

With the launch of the first next-generation GPS III satellite, GPS III Space Vehicle 01 (GPS III SV01), on December 23, 2018, the Global Positioning System (GPS) took a major step in modernizing technology and capability. The U.S. Air Force has continually improved GPS since the launch of the first GPS Block I satellite in 1978, and this ongoing modernization has provided new signals, greater accuracy, and increased robustness for civil and military users. After the first 10 GPS III satellites are launched over the next few years, up to 22 GPS III Follow-on (GPS IIIF) satellites will provide yet another step increase in GPS capabilities.

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By Inside GNSS
March 21, 2019

Budget Brawl Could Impact GPS

The GPS community made real progress during 2018. The first GPS III satellite was launched, the contractor for the GPS IIIF satellites was chosen and work on the new ground system appeared to be on a good track. In addition, after years of waiting, two of three requested Galileo signals were approved for official use in the United States and Congress ordered the building of a backup system for GPS timing.

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By Dee Ann Divis
December 24, 2018

Launch of First GPS III Satellite Begins Modernization of the GPS Constellation

At approximately 12,550 miles (20,200 kilometers) up … turn left. You have arrived at a new era for the Global Positioning System (GPS).

A major milestone in the U.S. Air Force’s plan to bring new technology and capabilities to the GPS constellation, the first Lockheed Martin-built GPS III satellite began “talking” with engineers and operators from ground control, as planned, following its successful launch Sunday morning.

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By Inside GNSS
December 20, 2018

GPS III Space Vehicle 01 Launch Rescheduled

UPDATE: According to SpaceX, the launch has been pushed back a second time. Initially the company had not selected  a new launch date, but on Dec. 20 they stated that the new date was to be Dec. 22.

Here are some details from the SpaceX website published on Dec. 20:

SpaceX is now targeting December 22nd for launch of the United States Air Force’s first Global Positioning System III space vehicle (SV) from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Weather is 80% favorable for the launch window which opens at 8:55 a.m. EST, 13:55 UTC.

For this mission, the satellite will be deployed to medium Earth orbit approximately 1 hour and 56 minutes after liftoff. Due to mission requirements, SpaceX will not attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage after launch. You can watch the live launch webcast, starting about 15 minutes before liftoff.

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By Inside GNSS
November 1, 2018

Harris Corp. Delivers Sixth GPS III Satellite Navigation Payload

Harris Corporation has provided Lockheed Martin with its sixth of 10 advanced navigation payloads contracted for the U.S. Air Force’s GPS III satellite program, the company announced today.

The GPS III navigation payload features a Mission Data Unit (MDU) with a unique 70-percent digital design that links atomic clocks, radiation-hardened processors and powerful transmitters – enabling signals three times more accurate than those on current GPS satellites. The payload also boosts signal power, which increases jamming resistance by eight times and helps extend the satellite’s lifespan.

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By Inside GNSS