Harris delivers navigation payload for third GPS III satellite

August 9, 2017  - By 0 Comments

Harris Corporation has delivered the third of 10 advanced navigation payloads to Lockheed Martin, which will increase accuracy, signal power and jamming resistance for U.S. Air Force GPS III satellites.

The navigation payload before integration into the second GPS III SV, which now is in environmental testing. (Photo: Harris)

The advanced navigation payloads feature a Mission Data Unit (MDU) with a unique 70-percent digital design that links atomic clocks, radiation-hardened computers and powerful transmitters — enabling signals three times more accurate than those on current GPS satellites.

The new payloads also boost satellite signal power, increase jamming resistance by eight times and help extend the satellite’s lifespan.

The payload is expected to be integrated into GPS III Space Vehicle 3 (GPS III SV03) this summer. In May, Harris’ second GPS III navigation payload was integrated into GPS III SV02.

The first navigation payload is integrated aboard GPS III SV01, which has now completed rigorous testing and is in storage awaiting its expected 2018 launch.

The MDU performs the primary mission of the GPS satellite, which is generation of the navigation signals and data that provide precise time information to users on a continuous basis. (Photo: Harris)

“We are now in full production and on target to deliver the fourth GPS III navigation payload to Lockheed Martin this fall,” said Bill Gattle, president, Harris Space and Intelligence Systems. “Our payloads help U.S. and allied soldiers complete their missions, enable billions of dollars in commerce and benefit the everyday lives of millions of people around the world.”

Harris has a long legacy of expertise in creating and sending GPS signals, extending back to the mid-’70s — providing navigation technology for every U.S. GPS satellite ever launched.

Harris is also developing a fully digital MDU for the U.S. Air Force’s GPS III Space Vehicles 11+ acquisition. This new MDU will be demonstrated in fall 2017 and provides even greater flexibility, affordability and accuracy versus existing GPS satellites.

Harris navigation payloads are already integrated in the second GPS III space vehicle, now in environmental testing, and the first GPS III satellite (pictured here), expected to launch in 2018. (Photo courtesy Lockheed Martin)

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