SUNNYVALE, Calif., Nov. 30 — The Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) -built Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite, launched successfully Nov. 6 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., has been declared fully operational for military and civilian navigation users around the globe.
The GPS constellation now comprises 30 satellites and includes 12 fully operational Block IIR spacecraft built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Valley Forge, Pa. The GPS IIR satellites were developed to improve global coverage and increase the overall performance of the global positioning system.
“The successful launch and operational turnover of GPS IIR-13 — the fourth IIR satellite declared operational this year — is testimony to the talent and determination of the joint industry/Air Force team,” said Dave Podlesney, GPS IIR program director, Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Valley Forge, Pa. “We take great pride in providing world class, high-performance GPS spacecraft at rapid cycle times and look forward to delivering even greater navigation capabilities as we begin to launch modernized spacecraft next year.”
The GPS IIR team is now gearing up for the launch of the first modernized IIR satellite scheduled for liftoff in May 2005 from Cape Canaveral. To further enhance the GPS constellation, Lockheed Martin is modernizing the remaining eight IIR satellites for its customer, the Navstar GPS Joint Program Office, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.
These spacecraft, designated GPS IIR-M, will incorporate two new military signals and a second civil signal, thus providing military and civilian users of the navigation system with improved capabilities much sooner than previously envisioned. The team is also prepared to support a launch in March 2005 if required for constellation sustainment.
The modernized navigation payload is being built by ITT Industries in Clifton, N.J. The satellite upgrades along with final assembly, integration and test is being performed at Lockheed Martin facilities in Valley Forge, Pa.
The Global Positioning System enables properly equipped users to determine precise time and velocity and worldwide latitude, longitude and altitude to within a few meters. Air Force Space Command’s 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS), based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.
Lockheed Martin is also leading a team to develop the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation Global Positioning System, GPS III. The team, which includes Spectrum Astro, Raytheon, ITT and General Dynamics, is currently under contract for GPS III concept definition and plans to compete for the future development.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 130,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2003 sales of $31.8 billion.