Lockheed Martin responded to a report by Bloomberg last week that the U.S. Air Force has opened a review of the propulsion systems used for Lockheed Martin’s GPS III and other military satellites, following a problem during an attempt to boost one into orbit.
A Lockheed spokesperson said the first GPS III satellite passed all of its qualification testing and verification.
“On Feb. 27, the Air Force declared GPS III Space Vehicle 01 (SV01) ready for storage following the completion of all space vehicle Factory Functional Qualification Testing (FFQT) and successful verification of more than 30,000 pre-storage technical requirements,” responded Chip Eschenfelder, communications lead for Lockheed’s Military Space division.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the Air Force and Lockheed Martin are thoroughly evaluating the A2100 GPS III Propulsion Subsystem, prior to declaring the satellite Available for Launch (AFL),” Eschenfelder said. “This review is a standard process for our rigorous systems engineering approach to assure mission success.”
The plan remains to launch the first GPS III satellite by spring of 2018.
“Lockheed Martin is working closely with the Air Force on resolving any concerns about the mission readiness of SV01’s Propulsion Subsystem,” Eschenfelder said. “We are confident that this review will not delay the Air Force’s planned spring 2018 Initial Launch Capability (ILC).”
Today, more than 50 Lockheed Martin A2100 bus satellites are operating successfully on orbit.