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M-Code upgrade promises more secure position, navigation and timing information

7th December 2020 - 09:13 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

Ground control system can now handle secure signals broadcast by GPS satellites

The US Space Force on 4 December announced operational acceptance for the Lockheed Martin M-Code Early Use (MCEU) software upgrade for the GPS Operational Control Segment (OCS), which is the current GPS ground control system.

This means that upcoming Military GPS User Equipment will be able to request early use of the M-Code signal-in-space to provide more secure position, navigation and timing information to warfighters.

The successful testing events were completed in November at the Master Control Station at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado and Alternate Master Control Stations at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The encrypted M-Code signal enhances anti-jamming and anti-spoofing capabilities for the warfighter. M-Code signals are available on all 23 GPS Block IIR-M, IIF and III space vehicles currently on orbit.

Operational Acceptance followed successful integrated developmental and operational testing of the GPS Operational Control Segment (OCS) upgrade. Operating in a trial period since June 2020, the MCEU upgrade allows the OCS Architecture Evolution Plan to task, upload and monitor M-Code within the GPS constellation, as well as support testing and fielding of modernised user equipment.

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