Military Embedded Systems

U.S. Air Force's GPS III space vehicle completes acoustic testing


September 05, 2017

Mariana Iriarte

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

U.S. Air Force's GPS III space vehicle completes acoustic testing
Image by Lockheed Martin

DENVER. Lockheed Martin engineers completed a realistic simulation of the second GPS III space vehicle (GPS III SV02) during its future launch experience and passed this critical acoustic environmental test. The test was conducted on July 13.

During acoustic testing, the GPS III SV02 satellite was continuously blasted with deafening sound reaching 140 decibels in a specialized test chamber equipped with high-powered horns. For comparison, that is about as loud as an aircraft carrier deck and human hearing starts to be damaged back at about 85 decibels. The test uses sound loud enough to literally shake loose anything not properly attached.

The GPS III SV02 satellite is part of the U.S. Air Force's next generation of GPS satellites that will deliver three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities, official say. Spacecraft life will extend to 15 years, 25 percent longer than the newest GPS satellites on-orbit today. GPS III's new L1C civil signal also will make it the first GPS satellite to be interoperable with other international global navigation satellite systems.

The GPS III SV02 satellite is now being prepared for Thermal Vacuum (TVAC) testing this fall, where it will be subjected to extreme cold and heat in zero atmosphere, simulating its on-orbit life. The satellite is expected to be delivered complete to the Air Force in early 2018.

GPS III SV02 is the second of 10 GPS III satellites Lockheed Martin is contracted for and is assembling in full production at the company's GPS III Processing Facility near Denver.

The GPS III team is led by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Air Force Space Command's 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS), based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.

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