Lockheed VP Johnathon Caldwell Talks On-Orbit Performance of First GPS III Satellite

Jeff Brody

Johnathon Caldwell, vice president of navigation systems at Lockheed Martin, told GPS World in an interview published Monday about the on-orbit performance of the first GPS III satellite the company built for the U.S. Air Force.

“On Jan. 8 we began broadcasting navigation data across all signal chains, and the satellite has been in checkout mode since then,” Caldwell said of GPS III SV01, which launched in December.

“According to all the reports I get from various independent agencies, the vehicle has been performing outstanding, and the payload performance has been exceeding expectations,” he added.

Caldwell noted the company will start adopting a new ground control system – GPS Operational Control Segment – in the fall and has completed functional testing of the GPS III SV02 satellite in preparation for launch in July.

The third GPS III satellite is set for delivery in the spring, while SV04 and SV05 are respectively in the final environmental testing and thermal vacuum testing phases, Caldwell said.

He also provided updates on GPS III SV06 through SV10 satellites as well as on the follow-on GPS IIIF satellites.

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