Exelis says it has successfully completed and fully tested six transmitter assemblies, which are integral payload components for the first in a series of the next generation of GPS III navigation satellites. The navigation payload transmitters carry high-powered GPS signals from space to Earth, benefitting military, commercial and civilian users.
To ensure the space vehicle navigation payload meets performance requirements over the mission life, Exelis subjected the transmitter assemblies to a rigorous test program which includes random vibration, pyroshock and thermal vacuum testing which replicates space-like conditions which envelope the launch vehicle, deployment and on-orbit environments.
“Testing validated the transmitters’ performance for the first GPS III space vehicle or SV 1 and will be replicated for consecutive space vehicles,” said Mark Pisani, vice president and general manager of positioning, navigation and timing business area for Exelis Geospatial Systems. “Staying true to our legacy, we are committed to delivering a payload that works and contributes to moving the overall GPS modernization effort forward.”
Compared to prior GPS vehicles, GPS III satellites will deliver three times better accuracy, provide up to eight times more powerful anti-jamming capabilities and include enhancements that extend spacecraft life 25 percent further. GPS III-series satellites also will carry a new civil signal designed to be interoperable with other international global navigation satellite systems, enhancing civilian user connectivity.
The GPS III team is led by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Lockheed Martin is the GPS III prime contractor with teammates Exelis, General Dynamics, Infinity Systems Engineering, Honeywell, ATK and other subcontractors. Air Force Space Command's Second Space Operations Squadron, based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.
The company is a diversified, global aerospace, defense, information and services company, a leader in positioning and navigation, sensors, air traffic management solutions, image processing and distribution, communications and information systems. Headquartered in McLean, Va., Exelis employs about 17,000 people and generated 2013 sales of $4.8 billion.