Business

May 29, 2012

Lockheed Martin completes navigation payload milestone for GPS III prototype

The Lockheed Martin team developing the next generation Global Positioning System III satellites has completed a major integration and test event on the program’s satellite pathfinder, known as the GPS III Non-Flight Satellite Testbed.

The milestone is a key indication that the GPS III team is on track to deliver the first satellite for launch availability in 2014.

In Lockheed Martin’s new GPS Processing Facility, engineers successfully powered on the GNST with major elements of its Navigation Payload to include advanced atomic clocks for improved GPS accuracy, and the Mission Data Unit, the heart of the GPS III navigation payload. The test was completed in advance of integrating the full Navigation Payload Element, which is scheduled for delivery to the GPF this fall.

The GPS III program will affordably replace aging GPS satellites while improving capability to meet the evolving demands of military, commercial and civilian users worldwide. GPS III satellites will deliver better accuracy and improved anti-jamming power while enhancing the spacecraft’s design life and adding a new civil signal designed to be interoperable with international global navigation satellite systems.

“This milestone is yet another example of how the GPS III program is reducing risk early to facilitate affordable, efficient and timely satellite production in the future,” said LtCol Don Frew, the U.S. Air Force’s GPS III program manager.

Incorporating lessons learned from previous GPS programs, the Air Force initiated a “back-to-basics” acquisition approach for GPS III. The strategy emphasizes early investments in rigorous systems engineering and industry-leading parts standards to significantly reduce risk, improve production predictability, increase mission assurance and lower overall program costs. These investments early in the GPS III program are designed to prevent the types of engineering issues discovered on other programs late in the manufacturing process or even on orbit.

“The GNST is the cornerstone of the Air Force’s “back-to-basics” acquisition approach, and this milestone demonstrates that GPS III is on track and the acquisition strategy is working,” said Keoki Jackson, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Navigation Systems mission area. “The Air Force’s early investment in meticulous parts standards and rigorous systems engineering will significantly reduce per unit production costs and ensure mission success.”

As production progresses on the first GPS III satellite, the team has already benefited from lessons learned on the GNST. Early efficiencies identified include:

  • 50-80 percent reductions in labor hours and defect rates between similar activities on the GNST and the first space vehicle.
  • Identification of tens of millions of dollars in cost savings for the production satellites based on process improvements recognized during GNST integration and test.

“As we continue learning lessons on the GNST and move into full scale satellite production, we expect to continually streamline our processes and reduce per unit costs,” Jackson said.

In 2008, Lockheed Martin was awarded the contract for the design, development and production of the GPS III Non-Flight Satellite Testbed and the first two GPS III satellites, with priced options for up to 10 additional satellites. In early 2012, the Air Force exercised a $238 million option for production of the next two satellites, GPS III space vehicles three and four. The Air Force plans to purchase up to 32 GPS III satellites.

The GPS III team is led by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Lockheed Martin is the GPS III prime contractor with teammates ITT Exelis, General Dynamics, Infinity Systems Engineering, Honeywell, ATK and other subcontractors. 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.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Northrop Grumman passes key design review for B-2 weapons management upgrade

Northrop Grumman has successfully demonstrated to the U.S. Air Force that its plans to upgrade key weapons management software for the B-2 stealth bomber are on track and ready to proceed to the next level of development. The company successfully completed the critical design review of the service’s Flexible Strike Phase 1 program on Feb...
 
 

Boeing creates defense data analytics group

As part of a focus on increasing its global competitiveness, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is creating a new data analytics organization to provide customers with new and advanced offerings for leveraging information technologies across its products and services. Also, Chris Raymond, currently the vice president of Business Development & Strategy for Defense, Space &...
 
 
NG-people2

Northrop Grumman names VP, mission assurance for Electronic Systems sector

Northrop Grumman has appointed Sonal B. Deshpande vice president of mission assurance for the company’s Linthicum-based Electronic Systems sector. In this position, Deshpande is responsible for mission assurance across th...
 

 
sikorsky-raider

Sikorsky S-97 Raider helicopter achieves successful first flight

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a United Technologies Corp. subsidiary, announced May 22 the successful first flight of the S-97 Raiderâ„¢ helicopter, a rigid coaxial rotor prototype designed to demonstrate a game-changing combination...
 
 
NG-people

Northrop Grumman appoints VP, program manager ISR division

Northrop Grumman announced it has appointed Steve Lunny, vice president and program manager for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance division within the company’s Information Systems sector. Lunny will report...
 
 

HELLADS laser completes development

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. announced May 21 that the High-Energy Liquid Laser completed the U.S. government acceptance test procedure and is now being shipped to the White Sands Missile Range, N.M. At WSMR, the laser will undergo an extensive series of live fire tests against a number of military targets.  GAASI is a leading...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>