Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif., successfully launched a GPS satellite on July 16th from Cape Canaveral Air Station in Florida. This was the fourth successful launch of the new-generation replenishment spacecraft, designated GPS IIR. Lockheed will supply 16 more of these satellites to the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles over the next five years.
The satellite launched, officially known as GPS IIR-5, will join 27 other operational GPS satellites now on orbit. GPS IIR-5 is expected to improve global coverage and increase the overall health of the GPS constellation. Increased navigation accuracy and longer autonomous satellite operation without ground control corrections will improve service for the Air Force customer and other users.
In recent GPS IIR news, the President's 2001 budget request builds in plans to accelerate GPS modernization. The budget, if approved by Congress, will allow the Space Systems team to provide improved capabilities sought by military and civilian users of the navigation system much sooner than previously envisioned. The new capabilities include additional military and civilian signals, increased signal power and the ability to reprogram spacecraft signals and power while in orbit. These improvements will provide for better resistance to enemy jamming and improved accuracy.