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GPS III Processing Facility thermal vacuum chamber. Lockheed Martin photo (Click image to enlarge.)

GPS III Satellite System and GPS OCX Have a Conversation

Modernization effort reaches integration milestone.

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April 16, 2012

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Raytheon Company and Lockheed Martin have successfully completed the first significant integration milestone between Raytheon’s Next Generation GPS Operational Control System (OCX) and Lockheed Martin’s GPS III satellite development.

On February 2, the joint team successfully exchanged satellite commands and telemetry data between the GPS III satellite simulator in Newtown, Pennsylvania, and the OCX development site in Aurora, Colorado. According to company officials, the integration of the two sites will facilitate development testing of the OCX system and allow early risk reduction testing of the ground-satellite interface in a test-like-you-fly configuration.

“The successful test of GPS OCX, with our partners at Lockheed Martin, is a testament to the solid engineering and design for both GPS OCX and GPS III,” stated Ray Kolibaba, Raytheon’s GPS OCX Program Manager. “Working together, we are well on our way to launching the first GPS III satellite in 2014.”

The GPS III program will replace aging GPS satellites while improving capability to meet the evolving needs of military, commercial, and civilian users worldwide.

“The first connectivity between the modernized space and control segments is a major milestone for the entire GPS enterprise,” said Keoki Jackson, vice-president of Lockheed Martin’s Navigation Systems mission area.

In 2000, U.S. Congress authorized a GPS enterprise modernization project, commonly known as GPS III, to maintain and upgrade existing GPS capabilities. The project involves new, more capable satellites and a flexible, secure control system that together will provide new civil and military navigation signals for both civilian and military users, and will improve accuracy, availability and resistance to jamming.

In 2008, an industry team led by Lockheed Martin won a $1.46 billion initial contract to design and build the GPS Block IIIA satellites. A Raytheon-led team won the OCX development contract, valued at up to $1.525 billion, in 2010.

Copyright © 2012 Gibbons Media & Research LLC, all rights reserved.

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