New GPS III Contracts Awarded

Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman will compete to build the new batch of next-generation GPS III satellites. On May 5, the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center awarded the three companies phase-one production readiness feasibility contracts for the 11th GPS III space vehicle, according to a release. The base $5 million firm-fixed-price contracts call for demonstrations of the contractors’ navigation payload capabilities. The next-generation satellites’ payloads will include a nuclear detonation detector, search and rescue system, a laser retro-reflector array, S-band frequency capability, and military protection system, according to the release. The contract covers a 26-month period, with two additional six-month, $500,000 options. The initial, next-generation GPS III satellites are already in production. United Launch Alliance is scheduled to launch the first GPS III satellite in May 2017, according to SMC’s public affairs office. SpaceX will launch the second in May 2018.