Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The first GPS Block IIIA satellite operated by the U.S. Air Force will provide much better accuracy and will be compatible with global positioning systems used by other countries.
Costing some $577 million, this satellite was launched two weeks ago. The 10 new Block IIIA satellites will provide three times better accuracy compared to current GPS satellites, said Lockheed Martin, the satellite’s developer.
The tenth and final GPS Block IIIA satellite launch is scheduled for the second quarter of 2023, if all goes well
“Launch is always a monumental event, and especially so since this is the first GPS satellite of its generation launched on SpaceX’s first national security space mission,” said Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center and Air Force program executive officer for space.
He said that as more GPS III satellites join the constellation, it will bring better service at a lower cost to a technology now fully woven into the fabric of any modern civilization.
Gen. Thompson said GPS Block IIIA satellites keep GPS the gold standard for positioning, navigation and timing information. He said the launch of the first GPS Block IIIA satellite was a capstone, but it doesn’t mean the Air Force is done. He said the Air Force is going to run a series of procedures for checkout and test “to ensure everything on Vespucci functions as it was designed.”
GPS III’s L1C civil signal will make it the first GPS satellite broadcasting a signal compatible with other international global navigation satellite systems such as Europe’s Galileo, thereby improving connectivity for civilian users.
For the U.S. military, the new birds have up to eight times better anti-jamming capabilities, making them more resistant to electronic warfare (EW) attacks by either the Russians or Chinese.
The anti-jamming capabilities of the GPS IIIA satellites spring from its use of the new “M-code” (or Military code) first used on the operational Block IIF series launched from 2012 to 2016. The new M-Code signal is also designed for more secure access to military GPS signals. M-code is transmitted on the L1 and L2 frequencies already used by the previous military code, which is the P(Y) code.
GPS satellites use the NAVSTAR radionavigation system owned by the U.S. government and operated by the Air Force.
Article – All Rights Reserved.
Provided by FeedSyndicate