USAF declares first Lockheed Martin GPSIII satellite launch ready

Wednesday October 11, 2017 0 comments Tags: Denver, Lockheed Martin, GPS III, Mark Stewart

DENVER -- Ushering in a new era of advanced Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, the U.S. Air Force declared the first Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)-built GPS III satellite “Available for Launch.”

The Air Force’s “AFL” declaration is the final acceptance of Lockheed Martin’s first GPS III Space Vehicle (GPS III SV01) prior to its expected 2018 launch, the company said,noting that the GPS III SV01 will bring new capabilities to U.S. and allied military forces, and a new civil signal that will improve future connectivity worldwide for commercial and civilian users.

Lockheed said GPS III SV01 now awaits a call-up to begin pre-launch preparations. In the meantime, the advanced satellite is stored in an environmentally-controlled clean room, where engineers can perform maintenance and continue to service the satellite.Lockheed_Martin_logoUSE 

GPS III SV01 is the first space vehicle of an entirely new satellite design, Lockheed said. GPS III is a next generation technology and capability leap over any of the 31 GPS Block II satellites that currently populate today’s operational GPS constellation.

Lockheed said the new satellite is three times more accurate than current GPS satellites, eight times better anti-jamming capability, and is expected to last 25 percent longer than the newest GPS satellites now in orbit.

Lockheed said one of the keys to its GPS III is it was designed for today’s mission with an eye on tomorrow’s needs. 

“As we designed GPS III, we knew that mission needs would change in the future and that new technology will become available,” said Mark Stewart, Lockheed’s VP of Navigation Systems.

“We wanted the satellite to be flexible to adapt to those changes. To do that, we intentionally developed GPS III with a modular design. This allows us to easily insert new technology into our production line.”

For Lockheed Martin, the completion of GPS III SV01 is a major milestone on a challenging development program to design and build the most powerful GPS satellites ever envisioned. 

With all major development risks behind them, Lockheed said the company is now in full production on 10 GPS III satellites at its GPS III Processing Facility near Denver.

“Lockheed Martin’s GPS III team owes much of its success to the Air Force’s Back to Basics program,” said Stewart. 

“We are proud to partner with the Air Force on this important program and look forward to launching the first GPS III satellite in 2018.”

The GPS III team is led by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. 

Air Force Space Command’s 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS), based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.

For additional GPS III information, photos and video visit