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Lockheed Martin delivers second modernised GPS satellite to Cape Canaveral for January launch


Bethesda (Lockheed Martin) - Lockheed Martin has delivered the second modernized Global Positioning System Block IIR (GPS IIR) satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., where it will be readied for a January launch.

The company is in the midst of modernizing a total of eight GPS satellites, designated GPS IIR-M, which will provide significantly improved navigation performance for U.S. military and civilian users worldwide.

The new satellites offer a variety of enhanced features for GPS users, such as a modernized antenna panel that provides increased signal power to receivers on the ground, two new military signals for improved accuracy, enhanced encryption and anti-jamming capabilities for the military, and a second civil signal that will provide users with an open access signal on a different frequency.

The first modernized GPS-IIR satellite, launched successfully on Sept. 25 from Cape Canaveral, is performing nominally following a series of precision maneuvers and deployment of all spacecraft systems. The team completed on-orbit operations ahead of the planned schedule and turned the spacecraft over to Air Force Space Command's 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS) in less than five days, a new record of any GPS satellite.

“The 2nd Space Operations Squadron is excited about the next generation of GPS satellites brought into the constellation,” said Lt Col Steve Hamilton, Commander of the 2SOPS. “This was a total team effort by Lockheed Martin as well as other contractors, civil service and the Air Force working together to put these new capabilities on orbit. We're looking forward to a great check out and setting this satellite operational."

The spacecraft is expected to be declared fully operational for military and civilian navigation users around the globe in January 2006 following a special, four-month on-orbit test period for the new military and civilian signals.

"The highly successful launch and rapid on-orbit turnover of the first modernized GPS IIR is the result of a team of dedicated, talented individuals focused on delivering the best quality navigation capabilities to the user," said Dave Podlesney, GPS IIR program director, Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Valley Forge, Pa. "These are the most technologically advanced GPS spacecraft ever built and we look forward to achieving mission success as we prepare to launch another modernized satellite next year."

The Global Positioning System enables properly equipped users to determine precise time and velocity and worldwide latitude, longitude and altitude to within a few meters. Air Force Space Command's 2nd Space Operations Squadron, based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.

GPS IIR-M production occurs at Lockheed Martin facilities in Valley Forge, Pa. The modernized navigation payload is provided by ITT Industries in Clifton, N.J.

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