A third Boeing GPS IIF satellite has completed on-orbit checkout and is now part of the active 31-satellite GPS constellation, providing improved performance for both military and civilian users. GPS IIF-3, now designated SVN-65, is being operated by the 50th Space Wing's 2nd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, CO, following an Oct. 4 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
"We completed the checkout and validation of SVN-65 in 22 days instead of the scheduled 30," says Col. Bernie Gruber, director of the Space and Missile Systems Center's Global Positioning Systems Directorate. "The smooth transition to operations is reflective of the solid teamwork on the part of the joint Boeing and Air Force Mission Operations team as well as a healthy satellite. Following the handover, orbital maneuvers were completed to position SVN-65 in its final location and the satellite has been set to healthy."
"Our focus on mission success, extending from our supplier shop floors to our program management system and quality controls, has produced a high-performing satellite ready to go to work for the GPS user community," says Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems.
SVN-65 joins the two Boeing GPS IIFs launched in 2010 and 2011. Together, they are strengthening and enhancing the capabilities of the constellation with improved anti-jamming and greater navigational accuracy. The addition of the third IIF also means that operators can more fully test the new third civilian L5 signal that will aid commercial airline operations and search-and-rescue missions.
Boeing is providing a total of 12 GPS IIFs to the U.S. Air Force, which operates the GPS network. Of the remaining nine to be delivered, six will be completed by the end of 2012 and the remaining three in 2013.
"Boeing has partnered with the Air Force for nearly 40 years to provide this critical resource, accumulating more than 500 years of on-orbit service since the first GPS launch in 1978," says Jan Heide, Boeing GPS IIF program director.