While the GPS III program has reported improvements in contractor manufacturing processes over the past few years, the sixth GPS III satellite encountered failures in multiple assemblies during testing, which delayed the satellite’s projected delivery by 8 months to April 2021. Consequently, Lockheed Martin conducted rework on various assemblies, such as the onboard computer and one of the satellite’s atomic clocks. Due to the level of rework, the program carried out an additional thermal vacuum test of the satellite following reassembly. Program officials reported the satellite successfully completed this testing in October 2020.Additionally, the progam identified schedule risks to the delivery of the eighth GPS III satellite in December 2021 and the 10th in May 2023. Assembly delivery delays and rework requirements for the program’s prior satellites indicate these satellites may face similar delays. Of particular concern is the potential for rework to the satellite’s remote interface units—components that serve as “routers” between the various assemblies within the satellite—given that four earlier GPS III satellites already required similar rework. Program officials stated that Lockheed Martin and its subcontactors have been working to address this risk through efforts in both the production and inspection of these components.
The next generation of Global Positioning System satellites could host additional payloads to provide communications services, the U.S. Space Force said in a request for information. The RFI issued last month by the Space and Missile Systems Center asks contractors to pitch ideas for hosting communications payloads on GPS 3F satellites, the newest version of GPS currently being developed by Lockheed Martin. GPS satellites provide positioning, navigation and timing data. The Space Force is now deploying GPS 3 satellites. The first of the more advanced GPS 3F version is projected to launch in 2026. These new satellites will have more room and power to support hosted payloads.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force has ordered three GPS 3F satellites from Lockheed Martin for $737 million. The Space Force on Oct. 22 exercised an option to purchase the satellites under a previously awarded contract, a Lockheed Martin spokesperson told SpaceNews Nov. 11.This is the third contract option awarded to Lockheed Martin under a 2018 agreement worth $7.2 billion for up to 22 satellites The first was a $1.3 billion order in September 2018 for two GPS 3Fs (space vehicles 11 and 12) and the second in October 2020 was a $511 million contract option for two satellites (space vehicles 13 and 14). The new contract option is for GPS 3F space vehicles 15, 16 and 17. GPS 3F is the newest version of the U.S. satellites that provide global positioning, navigation and timing services.
The U.S. Space Force announced Nov. 28 it has ordered three GPS 3F satellites from Lockheed Martin for $744 million. The Space Force exercised the fourth contract option awarded to Lockheed Martin under a 2018 agreement worth $7.2 billion for up to 22 satellites The first was a $1.3 billion order in September 2018 for two GPS 3Fs (space vehicles 11 and 12); the second in October 2020 was a $511 million contract option for two satellites (space vehicles 13 and 14); and the third for space vehicles 15, 16 and 17, worth $737 million.The new contract option covers GPS 3F space vehicles 18, 19 and 20.
With several GPS satellites in storage awaiting launch opportunities, the U.S. Space Force decided to press pause on new orders, the top Air Force budget official said March 13.The Space Force in last year’s budget was projecting to order two Global Positioning System GPS 3F satellites from Lockheed Martin, but they were removed from the 2024 budget because they’re not needed, Maj. Gen. Michael Greiner, deputy assistant secretary for budget for the Department of the Air Force, said at a Pentagon news conference.“We have a strong, healthy GPS constellation, and we have a little bit of a backlog with launch capability,” said Greiner. “So we think this was a low-risk move to help free up resources.”He said the Space Force reallocated that funding to its missile-warning constellations, which are getting a big increase in the 2024 budget.
A backlog in launch capability? Or is it really that the ground segment for GPS III still isn't operational today despite the first satellite of this block launching back in 2018?