GPS III first launch exercise completedNews
September 06, 2012
NEWTOWN, PA. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin officials announced that the Air Force’s GPS III satellites’ first launch readiness exercise was completed. The launch readiness exercise, which was completed over a three day period by mission operations personnel, validated the basic satellite’s command and control functions, demonstrated the basic on-console procedures required for space vehicle contacts during the launch and early orbit mission, and tested the software and hardware interfaces.
The GPS III satellites are built by Lockheed Martin and the GPS operational control system -- called OCX -- was developed by Raytheon. This is the first space and ground enterprise where the ground control and space vehicles by were built by two independent prime contractors.
This latest event kicks off the first GPS III satellite’s mission readiness timeline, which also includes five short-duration exercises and six, five day mission rehearsals leading up to satellite launch.
The GPS III team is led by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate located at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. The Air Force Space Command, based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., manages and operates the GPS constellation for civilian and military users.