USAF launches first GPS III satellite
The US Air Force launched the first GPS III satellite, Vespucci, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on 23 December.
The Lockheed Martin-built satellite was launched aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 evolved expendable launch vehicle. Engineers and operators at Lockheed Martin’s Waterton facility will now begin on-orbit checkout and tests which are estimated to be completed in six months. Operational use is expected to begin in about a year.
Vespucci will be directed to augment the current GPS constellation comprised of 31 operational spacecraft. GPS satellites operate in medium earth orbit at an altitude of approximately 12,550 miles in six planes. Each satellite circles the earth twice per day. GPS provides position, navigation and timing services for billions of users worldwide.
More from Digital Battlespace
How anti-jam technology is helping provide resilience for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (Sponsored)
Accurate position information is crucial for many military and commercial applications. Global Navigation Satellite Systems is the most common source for position in land, airborne and marine applications within manned and unmanned vehicles, guided munitions, and many other platforms around the world.
GSG-7 simulator is designed to deliver a higher standard of GNSS signal testing in a cost-effective, easy-to-use, turnkey form factor.
The US hopes that combining electromagnetic warfare capabilities in the sea, air, and land domains would generate enhanced combat effects.
With the rise of increasingly assertive rivals like China and Russia, the Five Eyes allies are preparing their militaries for an uncertain future.
Puma 2 AE and Puma AE 3 operators will be able to fly their drones even if no GPS is available.