The sixth Lockheed Martin-built GPS III satellite established communications with engineers at the company’s Denver Launch and Checkout Operations Center about 83 minutes after it launched Wednesday aboard a SpaceX-made Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
GPS III Space Vehicle 06 comes with a modular design to facilitate the integration of new technology capabilities and serves as the 25th Military-Code satellite added to the U.S. Space Force’s GPS constellation meant to provide positioning, navigation and timing data to military and civilian users, Lockheed said Wednesday.
The company has completed development work on GPS III space vehicles 7, 8, 9, 10, which have been put in storage and are ready to be deployed.
Lockheed has begun building the GPS III Follow-On satellites for the Space Force. In November, the company secured a $744 million contract option to develop three additional GPS IIIF space vehicles for the service branch.
GPS IIIF will have a digital navigation payload, a laser retroreflector array and a search-and-rescue payload.