First GPS III satellite ready
The USAF has declared the first GPS III satellite (GPS III SV01) to be 'Available for Launch'.
The declaration is the final acceptance of Lockheed Martin's first GPS III space vehicle prior to its expected 2018 launch. GPS III SV01 now awaits pre-launch preparations; in the meantime, it is being stored in an environmentally-controlled clean room, where it can be maintained and serviced.
Lockheed Martin explain that GPS III SV01 is the first space vehicle of an entirely new satellite design, using next-generation technology and capability compared with the 31 satellites in the current operational GPS constellation.
Benefits of the GPS III satellites include:
- Better accuracy, claimed to be a 3-times improvement on current capability.
- Improved anti-jam capability, claimed to be 8-fold with powerful transmissions; also a ~70% digital payload, giving greater operational flexibility.
- Stronger design, with more resilience and a designed operational life of 15 years.
- Inclusion of new civil signal L1C - the common signal being adopted by other international Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) such as Galileo.
Further details from the Lockheed Martin link below . .