A new Global Positioning System satellite built by Lockheed Martin was launched into operational orbit, approximately 12,550 miles above the Earth, adding to the modernization of the GPS constellation for the U.S. Space Force. The launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was conducted January 18.
GPS is a satellite-based radio navigation system used by the U.S. military, U.S. allies, and civilian users, for internet, financial, transportation, and agricultural operations. The new GPS III SV06 will aide U.S. Space Force by providing positioning, navigation, and timing data, which is also supplied to as many as 4 billion military and civil users worldwide, according to Lockheed.
It is the sixth Global Positioning System III satellite built by Lockheed and the 25th Military-Code satellite inserted into the GPS constellation. A total of 10 GPS III satellites have been built under Lockheed’s initial government contract.
GPS IIIs are said to be three times more accurate and provide eight times greater “anti-jamming capability” over the previous-design GPS satellites in the constellation. Lockheed noted it developed GPS III with a modular design to allow new technology and capabilities to be added in the future.
"Lockheed Martin is incredibly proud to support the Space Force's GPS team as it continues to add world-class capabilities that underpin U.S. national security with enhanced performance and accuracy," stated Lockheed Martin vice president for Navigation Systems Andre Trotter. "With the last GPS III satellite complete and ready to launch, production of the first GPS IIIF vehicle is underway."Also, Lockheed is designing and building GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) satellites for the Space Force, which will feature an accuracy-enhancing laser retroreflector array, a new search-and-rescue payload, a fully digital navigation payload, and among other new technologies.