Air Force successfully launches Global Positioning System satellite built by Lockheed Martin
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR STATION, 30-JAN-01 -- Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif., was successfully launched today from Cape Canaveral. This was the sixth successful launch of the new-generation spacecraft, designated GPS IIR. The company has delivered 14 more of these satellites to the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. for future launches. The satellite launched today, designated GPS IIR-7, will join 28 other operational GPS satellites now on orbit. This satellite will improve global coverage and increase the overall performance of the GPS constellation.
With excellent working relationships, the Lockheed Martin/ITT/Air Force Team has once again accomplished its mission of timely sustainment of the GPS constellation, said Dave Podlesney, Lockheed Martin GPS program director. Congratulations to all on a job well done.
The Global Positioning System allows any properly equipped user to determine precise time and velocity and worldwide latitude, longitude and altitude to within a few meters. Although originally designed as a guidance and navigational tool for the military, GPS has proven beneficial in the commercial and civil markets for transportation, surveying and rescue operations.
The GPS IIR satellites are compatible with the current system and provide improved navigation accuracy, achieved by using an ITT Industries payload system. Additionally, increased autonomy, on-orbit reprogrammability and longer spacecraft life are inherent in the Lockheed Martin satellite design.
In related GPS IIR news, the Air Force-awarded contract to begin development of modernization changes for up to 12 of the 14 GPS Block IIR satellites that are currently in storage has proceeded through a successful Preliminary Design Review. These satellites 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.
In addition, the GPS IIR modifications will include increased signal power and the ability to reprogram signals and power on orbit. These improvements will provide for greater accuracy and better resistance to jamming. Work on this development contract will be performed at the Space Systems - Valley Forge, Pa. and ITT Industries, Clifton, N.J. facilities. Anticipated development completion date is September 2001 with launch availability by March 2003. The U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting agency.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, headquartered in Denver, Colo., is one of the major operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Space Systems designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates a variety of advanced technology systems for military, civil and commercial customers. Chief products include space launch and ground systems, remote sensing and communications satellites for commercial and government customers, advanced space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft, fleet ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.