Lockheed Martin will begin the environmental testing phase for the U.S. Air Force“™s second GPS III satellite by summer of 2017 after it completed assembly and integration work on the satellite in May.
“This testing simulates harsh launch and space environments the satellite will endure, and further reduces any risk prior to it being available for launch in 2018,“ Mark Stewart, vice president of navigation systems at Lockheed, said Monday.
The company“™s technicians entered the GPS III SV02 satellite into space vehicle single line flow following the integration of antenna deck, propulsion core and system module at its 40,000-square-foot facility near Denver, Colorado.
The company also wrapped up the factory functional qualification testing of the first GPS III satellite in preparation for its launch in 2018.
Lockheed also received from Harris Corp. the navigation payload for the third satellite ““ GPS III SV03 ““ in May and plans to perform integration work on the satellite by fall.
The firm plans to incorporate the navigation payload into GPS III SV04 before the end of this year and has received components for the other six satellites ““ GPS III SV05 through SV10 – from at least 250 suppliers.
Lockheed is building the ninth and 10th GPS III satellites through a potential $395 million contract modification awarded in September 2016.
The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center“™s global positioning systems directorate oversees the GPS III program designed to provide timing, navigation and positioning service to U.S. soldiers, allies and civilian users worldwide.