GPS Block IIF Satellite Completes Major Test

The Air Force announced last month that thermal vacuum testing has been completed on the first Boeing-built GPS Block IIF navigation satellite, representing a major milestone for the satellite program which expects first launch later this year. “The Boeing and government teams have done a tremendous job of getting this satellite through all environmental testing,” said Col. Dave Madden, GPS Wing commander. The rigorous testing, which took place at Boeing’s Spacecraft Development Center in El Segundo, Calif., confirmed that each of the satellite’s major subsystems performs as designed under the extreme temperatures and vacuum conditions in space. John Duddy, Boeing director of GPS programs, said the testing “validates years of work by dedicated professionals focused on building a quality satellite for the Air Force and the world.” Final functional testing of subsystems is now under way, to be followed by electromagnetic interference/electromagnetic compatibility testing and solar array deployments prior to the satellite’s anticipated delivery in February for launch, the Air Force said. Boeing is under contract to build 12 Block IIF satellites.