Lockheed Martin Delivers Last GPS Satellite
Lockheed Martin announced today that it had delivered the eighth and final satellite in the modernized Global Positioning System Block IIR-M production program to the U.S. Air Force.
There are currently three IIR-M GPS satellites in orbit, in addition to 12 original Block IIR satellites. Block IIR-M satellites have a number of enhancements from the IIR version. Most important among the new features is a modernized antenna that provides a stronger signal. The newer satellites also have a second civilian channel. For the military, the newer satellites have two new military signals, enhanced encryption and anti-jamming capabilities.
The third Bloack IIR-M satellite was declared operational on December 12th. The fourth satellite in the series is waiting at Cape Canaveral for a scheduled launch late this year. The other four Block IIR-M satellites are being stored and will be launched when needed.
Lockheed Martin is in competition with Boeing for the contract to build the next generation GPS satellites for the U.S. The contract for the multi-billion dollar project, known as GPS III, is supposed to be awarded late this year.
See also: GPS III Bid Process About to Begin