Lockheed Martin has delayed the delivery of the first satellite for the U.S. Air Force's GPS III program from August to December after the company detected a problem with the satellite's navigation payload, Space News reported Wednesday.
“During our rigorous navigation payload testing, we discovered a capacitor type on the payload that had not been properly qualified per the program's approved parts control plan,“ Chip Eschenfelder, a spokesman for Lockheed, said in an email to Space News.
Eschenfelder noted that Lockheed has notified the navigation payload provider, Harris Corp.'s Exelis Geospatial Systems, to subject the capacitor to a qualification test that is scheduled to conclude in December, Mike Gruss reports.
The service branch's space and missile systems center said the capacitor is part of a set of circuit cards designed to regulate the satellite power system-derived voltage needed to support a satellite subsystem, according to a report by Anthony Capaccio for Bloomberg.
Ellen Mitchell, a spokeswoman for Harris Corp., said in an email that the capacitor is one of 28,000 parts used in the navigation payload and was provided by a subcontractor, Capaccio reports.
“We asked Lockheed to go through the entire spacecraft design and verify that every single part and every single design element, every single qualification, was completed, and they are in the process of doing that,“ Col. Steve Whitney, program manager for the GPS III program, told Bloomberg.
Whitney also noted that the service branch will make a decision by February whether to procure the remaining 22 GPS III satellites from Lockheed or launch a new competition for the next batch of satellites, Bloomberg reports.