Lockheed Martin has delivered its third next-generation GPS III satellite to the U.S. Space Force ahead of an expected April launch. Last week, Lockheed Martin shipped the GPS III space vehicle to Cape Canaveral from the company’s GPS III Processing Facility near Denver aboard an Air Force C-17 aircraft. Lockheed Martin nicknamed the GPS III SV03 “Columbus” after Christopher Columbus, in the tradition of naming satellites after explorers.
GPS III SV03 is the latest of up to 32 next-generation GPS III/GPS III Follow-On (GPS IIIF) satellites the company has designed and is building to help the Space Force modernize today’s GPS constellation. Lockheed Martin says that GPS III is the most powerful and resilient GPS satellite ever put on orbit, with three times greater accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities over any previous GPS satellites in the constellation. GPS III is also the first GPS satellite to broadcast the new L1C civil signal, which is shared by other international global navigation satellite systems, like Galileo.
“Every day, more than four billion civil, commercial and military users rely on the Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) services provided by 31 GPS satellites launched since 1997,” said Tonya Ladwig, Lockheed Martin’s Program Manager for GPS III. “We are excited to help the Space Force refresh the constellation to ensure U.S. and allied forces always have the best technology and that the U.S. Global Positioning System remains the gold standard for PNT.”
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