Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) Aug 11, 2009
The last in a series of eight modernized Global Positioning System Block IIR (GPS IIR-M) satellites built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Air Force is set to launch aboard a Delta II rocket on Aug. 17 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
The spacecraft, designated GPS IIR-21(M), completes the IIR and IIR-M series of satellites the company designed and built for the Global Positioning Systems Wing, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.
Modernized spacecraft deliver increased signal power to receivers on the ground, two new military signals to improve accuracy, enhanced encryption and anti-jamming capabilities for the military, and a second civil signal that will provide users with an open access signal on a different frequency.
"The team has once again completed a smooth and efficient launch readiness review and we are ready for flight," said Col. Dave Madden, the U.S. Air Force GPS Wing Commander.
"Through effective collaboration and a joint commitment to successful execution, the GPS IIR program has significantly improved our nation's position, navigation and timing capabilities, and we look forward to enhancing the GPS constellation with this last IIR-M satellite."
Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Newtown, Pa., and its navigation and payload provider ITT of Clifton, N.J. designed and built 21 IIR satellites and subsequently modernized eight of those spacecraft.
"Since the first successful launch in 1997, GPS IIR spacecraft have demonstrated unmatched capability, achieving exceptional on-orbit performance for military and civil users around the globe," said Don DeGryse, Lockheed Martin's vice president of Navigation Systems.
"We are extremely proud of our partnership with the Air Force on this important program and look forward to providing increased GPS accuracy and reliability with the launch of the final GPS IIR-M satellite."
GPS provides essential services including situational awareness and precision weapon guidance for the military. It is also an information resource supporting a wide range of civil, scientific and commercial functions - from air traffic control to the Internet - with precision location and timing information.
Air Force Space Command's 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS), based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.
Building upon a legacy of providing progressively advanced GPS spacecraft, Lockheed Martin along with ITT Corporation and General Dynamics are developing the next generation of global positioning satellites, designated GPS III. This program will improve position, navigation and timing services for the warfighter and civil users worldwide.
The team is progressing on-schedule in the Critical Design Review (CDR) phase of the program and is on track to launch the first GPS IIIA satellite in 2014.
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