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A satellite that will enable future air navigation enhancements has been deployed by Lockheed Martin. The payload is the first use of the GPS L5 civil navigation frequency for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and supports a move toward satellite-based navigation to make air traffic management safer, more reliable and more accurate. It is also the first deployment of this technology for civil aviation use in North America. Lockheed Martin contracted with satellite service providers Telesat and PanAmSat to host navigational payloads it will operate as part of the FAA’s Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) Geostationary Communications and Control Segment (GCCS) initiative. The successful launch of the Telesat Anik F1R satellite from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Republic of Kazakhstan is the first of the two GCCS payloads scheduled for deployment this year to support the program. The navigation payload of the Anik F1R satellite establishes a vital base for providing en route and vertical guidance to aircraft at thousands of North American airports and airstrips. Under the FAA’s GCCS contract, Lockheed Martin and its teammates will provide ground uplink stations that receive global positioning system (GPS) correction and integrity data from the WAAS monitoring network and broadcast the data to the geostationary communications satellites for delivery to users. In aviation use, a WAAS broadcast message allows an improvement of GPS-base position accuracy from 30 m (100 ft) to approximately 7 m (27 ft). This improved accuracy enables instrument landing operations at previously unsupported airfields. Lockheed Martin and the FAA will perform 12 months of segment and system level integration and test, prior to the WAAS GCCS service going operational in September 2006. The FAA contract supporting these enhancements is valued at $314 M.
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