Air Force Accepts Delivery Of GPS Next Generation Operational Control System

Image Credit: U.S. Air Force

November 2, 2017 – The Space and Missile Systems Center announced that the United States Air Force has accepted delivery of the Global Positioning System Next Generation Operational Control System (GPS OCX) Launch and Checkout System (LCS) baseline from Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems.

Also known as Block 0, LCS demonstrated conformance through test and analysis with all contractual requirements. OCX has had numerous challenges delaying the delivery of this critical capability, and this delivery marks a significant program milestone providing the Air Force with a cyber-hardened ground system to support the launch and on-orbit checkout of the GPS III satellites. OCX Block 0 is the foundation for Raytheon’s future Block 1 and 2 delivery, slated for delivery in 2022.

Today, mission operators are utilizing LCS as part of the GPS III Mission Readiness Campaign. The ground system is performing as expected during the rehearsals and space vehicle checkout, giving the Air Force confidence in its readiness to support launch and on-orbit operations. The first launch of a GPS III satellite is scheduled for 2018.

The GPS III satellites are part of the U.S. Air Force’s next generation of GPS satellites and will bring critical new capabilities to the warfighter. GPS III will have three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities. 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.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems is currently under contract for 10 GPS III satellites and is in full production at the company’s GPS III Processing Facility in Littleton, Colorado. The $128 million, state-of-the-art manufacturing factory includes a specialized cleanroom and testing chambers designed to streamline satellite production. Lockheed Martin’s first GPS III Space Vehicle (GPS III SV01) was recently declared “Available for Launch” by the U.S. Air Force prior to its expected 2018 launch.

The GPS III team is led by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, California. 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.