Lockheed Martin won a $68 million contract to provide mission readiness, launch, early orbit checkout and on-orbit operations engineering support for the first two GPS III space vehicles.
The first and second GPS III satellites are on schedule for launch availability in 2014 and 2015.
The GPS III will replace aging GPS satellites while improving capability to meet the growing demands of military, commercial and civilian users around the world. The newer satellites will provide anti-jamming technology while adding civil signals that are interoperable with international global navigation satellite systems.
Under the contract, Lockheed Martin will provide technical support to the Air Force’s Second Space Operations Squadron and monitor the health and performance of the first two GPS III satellites from launch to the end of their 15-year life expectancy.
“The GPS III flight operations contract along with the Launch and Checkout Capability will better synchronize our GPS control and space segments to support the first launch of a GPS III satellite and ensure mission success,” said Capt. Alex Rawling, the Air Force’s GPS III Launch Operations lead. “We are focused on delivering the critical GPS III capabilities to users as efficiently and affordably as possible.”
In 2008, Lockheed Martin was awarded the contract for the design, development and production of the GPS III Non-Flight Satellite Testbed (GNST) and the first two GPS III satellites, with priced options for up to 10 additional satellites. In early 2012, the Air Force exercised a $238 million option for production of the next two satellites, GPS III space vehicles three and four. The Air Force plans to purchase up to 32 GPS III satellites.