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Latest GPS III satellite blasts off for Space Force

18th June 2021 - 11:15 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Space Vehicle 05 at the Lockheed Martin GPS III facility. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

The launch of GPS III SV05 brings the M-Code anti-jamming system to full operational capability.

The fifth GPS III Space Vehicle (GPS III SV05) was launched from Cape Canaveral on 17 June, manufacturer Lockheed Martin announced.

Once in orbit, GPS III SV05 (owned and operated by the US Space Force) will be the 24th satellite in the 31-strong constellation capable of broadcasting the GPS Military Code (M-Code) encrypted signal that enhances anti-jamming and anti-spoofing capabilities. 

This is significant as 24 M-Code enabled satellites will bring M-Code to full operational capability.

Eight older GPS IIR satellites are in orbit without M-Code.

Tonya Ladwig, Lockheed Martin VP for Navigation Systems, said: ‘With each satellite we bring to orbit, we help the US Space Force to modernise the GPS constellation's technology and to imagine future capability. Our next three satellites, GPS III SV06, SV07 and SV08, are already complete and just waiting for a launch date.’

Lockheed Martin stated that GPS III satellites ‘provide significant capability advancements over earlier-designed GPS satellites on orbit’, including a threefold improvement in accuracy; up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities; and a new civil signal that is compatible with international global navigation satellite systems such as Galileo in Europe.

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