Lockheed Martin Completes GPS III Design Phase Ahead Of Schedule


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Lockheed Martin Completes GPS III Design Phase Ahead Of Schedule

By Jim Douglas

August 22, 2010 - The Lockheed Martin team developing the U.S. Air Force’s next generation Global Positioning System, known as GPS III, has successfully completed the program’s Critical Design Review (CDR) phase two months ahead of the baseline schedule. CDR completion, the program’s most significant milestone to-date, validates the detailed GPS III design to ensure it meets warfighter and civil requirements, and allows the program to begin the production phase.

More than 350 representatives from the U.S. Air Force Global Positioning Systems Wing, the GPS III contractor team, as well as user communities from the Department of Defense, Air Force Space Command, the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration participated in a four-day Space Vehicle CDR at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company’s new Patriot Center in Newtown, Pa.


Completion of the CDR phase represents the culmination of many rigorous assembly, subsystem, element, space vehicle and system level CDR events and validates the overall design maturity of the GPS III Space Vehicle and Lockheed Martin’s readiness to enter production.

"With a focus on strong systems engineering and program management fundamentals, the team successfully executed a high-quality design review, which included 65 detailed CDR events,” said Col. Bernard J. Gruber, U.S. Air Force GPS Wing Commander. “Having completed the milestone ahead of schedule with excellent results, the program is on firm footing, and I am confident the team will successfully deliver this critical next generation system to enhance GPS capabilities for millions of military and civilian users around the globe.”

GPS III will improve position, navigation and timing services and provide advanced anti-jam capabilities yielding superior system security, accuracy and reliability. The next generation GPS IIIA satellites will guarantee signals three times more accurate than current GPS spacecraft and provide three times more power for military users, while also adding a new civil signal (L1C) that is designed to be interoperable with other global navigation satellite systems. The GPS IIIA flexible design will allow for low-risk, reliable and affordable capability insertion for the future GPS IIIB and IIIC spacecraft.


“This successful review demonstrated with high confidence that our low-risk GPS III design will meet warfighter and civil user requirements and that we are fully prepared to enter the production phase of this vitally important program,” said Joe Trench, Lockheed Martin's vice president of Navigation Systems. “Working in partnership with the Air Force, we look forward to building on our momentum to achieve our customer's cost, schedule and performance requirements for this essential program."

Lockheed Martin, Newtown, Pa., along with teammates ITT of Clifton, N.J., and General Dynamics of Scottsdale, Ariz., is working under a $3 billion Development and Production contract awarded by the Global Positioning Systems Wing of the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles, Calif., which includes production of up to 12 GPS IIIA satellites. The team is on track to launch the first GPS IIIA satellite in 2014.

“ITT's strong commitment and support of the recent successful CDR affirms the strength of the Lockheed Martin GPS III team," said Mark Pisani, vice president and general manager of Positioning, Navigation and Timing Systems, ITT Geospatial Systems. "ITT looks forward to working with the entire GPS III team to develop and integrate the navigation payloads for the next generation of navigation satellites.”

The GPS constellation provides critical situational awareness and precision weapon guidance for the military and supports a wide range of civil, scientific and commercial functions - from air traffic control to navigation systems in cars, cell phones and wristwatches. GPS is increasing productivity in areas as diverse as farming, mining, construction, surveying, package delivery and supply chain management. The system is also enhancing public safety by reducing response times for ambulances, firefighters and other emergency services.

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.


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