The Lockheed Martin team developing the US Air Force's next-generation Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite, known as GPS III, continues to maintain schedule performance and meet or exceed key milestones in the Critical Design Review (CDR) phase of the program. To date, the team has successfully executed 26 of 65 GPS III CDRs, most recently completing individual CDRs for the satellite's power regulation unit, batteries and space vehicle antenna assemblies. Preparations were made to conduct the TT&C, ACS and L2, L3 and L5 transmitter assembly CDRs. By the end of April, the team had completed over 50 percent of the planned CDRs and is well on its path to conduct the overall space vehicle CDR in August, two months ahead of the planned schedule. These rigorous CDR events demonstrate comprehensive designs and embody the core GPS III program focus on strong systems engineering and program management fundamentals. GPS III will improve position, navigation and timing services, and provide advanced anti-jam capabilities yielding superior system security, accuracy and reliability.

The new generation GPS IIIA satellites will deliver significant improvements over current GPS space vehicles, including a new international civil signal (L1C), and increased M-Code anti-jam power with full earth coverage for military users. Lockheed Martin, Newtown, PA, along with teammates ITT of Clifton, NJ, and General Dynamics of Gilbert, AZ, is working under a $3 B Development and Production contract awarded by the Global Positioning Systems Wing of the US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles, CA, which includes production of up to 12 GPS IIIA satellites. The team is on track to launch the first GPS IIIA satellite in 2014.

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 the Internet--with precision location and timing information. Air Force Space Command's 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS), based at Schriever Air Force Base, CO, manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.