gps1Lockheed Martin is preparing to install the navigation, communication and hosted payload antenna assemblies for the first satellite for the next-generation Global Positioning System.

Lockheed Martin is currently under contract for production of the first four GPS III satellites, and has received advanced procurement funding for long-lead components for four additional satellites. The GPS III team is led by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Schriever Air Force Base.

Seven antenna assemblies, produced at Lockheed Martin’s Newtown, Pa., facility, were delivered to the company’s GPS III Processing Facility near Denver on June 14.  The antennas will be installed on the first GPS III space vehicle, which Lockheed Martin will deliver to the U.S. Air Force on schedule in 2014.

The new antennas for the space vehicle will provide the satellite’s capability to send and receive data for earth-coverage and military earth-coverage navigation; a UHF cross-link for inter-satellite data transfer; telemetry, tracking and control for satellite-ground communications; and data acquisition and communication for the nuclear detection system hosted payload.  The antenna designs enable three to eight times greater anti-jamming signal power to be broadcast to military users across the globe when compared to previous GPS generations.

“These antennas on the next generation of GPS III satellites will transmit data utilized by more than 1 billion users with navigation, positioning and timing needs,” said Keoki Jackson, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Navigation Systems mission area. “We have become reliant on GPS for providing signals that affect everything from cell phones and wristwatches, to shipping containers and commercial air traffic, to ATMs and financial transactions worldwide.”

GPS III is a program designed to affordably replacing aging GPS satellites in orbit, while improving capability to meet the evolving demands of military, commercial and civilian users.

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