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News

GPS III transmitter assemblies completed

Exelis : 21 March, 2014  (Application Story)
Six transmitter assemblies have been completed and tested for inclusion in the GPS III satellite payload
GPS III transmitter assemblies completed

Exelis 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.”

In January 2013, Exelis received three rubidium atomic frequency standard clocks from Excelitas Technologies specifically designed for the SV 1 navigation payload of the next generation of GPS III satellites. Another integral component of the GPS III payload, atomic frequency clocks are among the most accurate time and frequency standards available. The atomic frequency standard provides accuracy for the GPS III international time transfer and navigation services. Work on the GPS III navigation payload is being performed in Clifton, N.J.

GPS III is a critically important program for the U.S. Air Force, affordably replacing the aging constellation of GPS satellites currently in orbit. 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.

For nearly 40 years, Exelis payloads and payload components have been on board every GPS satellite and have accumulated nearly 700 years of on-orbit life without a single mission-related failure due to Exelis equipment.

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.

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