The Heart of the Matter

Lockheed Martin announced that its engineers successfully powered on the Global Positioning System III Non-Flight Satellite Testbed with major elements of its navigation payload, thereby completing another important task and demonstrating that the company is on track to deliver the first GPS III satellite to the Air Force for launch availability in 2014. Among the navigation payload elements were the advanced atomic clocks for improved accuracy and the mission data unit, which the company calls “the heart” of the navigation payload. “This milestone is yet another example of how the GPS III program is reducing risk early to facilitate affordable, efficient, and timely satellite production in the future,” said Lt. Col. Don Frew, the Air Force’s GPS III program manager, in Lockheed Martin’s May 29 release. The engineers completed this test at the company’s new GPS Processing Facility in Denver in advance of integrating the full navigation payload element, which is scheduled for delivery to the GPF in the fall, according to the company.