Three GPS III Space Vehicles Ready, Willing and Able; One Named for Hidden Figure Katherine Johnson - Inside GNSS - Global Navigation Satellite Systems Engineering, Policy, and Design

Three GPS III Space Vehicles Ready, Willing and Able; One Named for Hidden Figure Katherine Johnson

The U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command recently declared the eighth GPS III satellite as “Available for Launch.” This marks the third GPS III satellite  to be declared available for launch in the past three months.

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NASA research mathematician Katherine Johnson is photographed at her desk at Langley Research Center in 1966.
Credits: NASA

The satellite is named “Katherine Johnson” in honor of the now-famous “hidden figure” in NASA history.

GPS III SV06, SV07, and SV08 are now awaiting official call up for launch in Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Processing Facility in Waterton, Colorado.

“SV06, SV07, and SV08 AFL milestones in just three months prove that GPS III production continues to benefit from efficiencies with each satellite delivery,” said Col. Edward Byrne, chief of SSC’s Space Production Corps’ Medium Earth Orbit Space Systems Division.

The first of the three recently completed satellites, SV06, is scheduled to launch in 2022 and will join the operational constellation of 31 GPS satellites.

In keeping with the tradition of naming GPS III satellites after famous explorers and pioneers, SV08 was named “Katherine Johnson” in honor of the trailblazing National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) mathematician and “human computer” who designed and computed orbital trajectories for NASA’s Mercury, Apollo and space shuttle missions. One of four African-American women at the center of the nonfiction book by Margot Lee Shetterly and the movie titled“Hidden Figures,” Katherine Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 for her groundbreaking contributions to the U.S. Space program.