Lockheed Martin has put its first satellite for the U.S. Air Force GPS III program through a thermal vacuum test in order to determine if the satellite could withstand simulated harsh space conditions.
The simulation took place Dec. 23 and exposed an assembled GPS III system to prolonged extreme temeprature cycles inside a depressurized chamber, Lockheed said Wednesday.
“Completion of this significant test validates the thermal design of the spacecraft and verifies that all spacecraft components and interfaces operate at the temperature extremes of the space environment,” said Mark Stewart, vice president of Lockheed’s navigation systems unit.
The company will produce eight GPS IIIs under a contract with the Air Force and the first four satellites are currently in different phases of assembly and evaluation.
Harris Corp. is scheduled to deliver a navigation payload technology this spring to Lockheed for integration into a second GPS III.