Spaceflight Insider

Lockheed Martin receives order for additional GPS satellites

Artist's depiction of a GPS III satellite in orbit. Image credit: Lockheed Martin

An artist’s depiction of a GPS III satellite in orbit. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin announced last week that the U.S. Air Force has exercised $395 million in contract options and ordered the construction of two additional GPS III satellites – bringing the total on order from the Maryland-based company to 10.

Lockheed Martin was awarded the initial block III contract in 2008 for the design, development, and production of one non-flight test article and two flight articles.

The 2008 contract also included options for the construction of up to 10 additional satellites. The Air Force has periodically exercised those options with orders for two additional satellites being placed in each of 2012, 2013, 2014, and now 2016.

“Lockheed Martin is proud to be working with the Air Force to bring GPS III’s tremendous new capabilities to the men and women in our armed forces, as well as to the world,” said Mark Stewart, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Navigation Systems mission area. “Our industry team, comprising more than 250 aerospace companies across 29 states, is committed to making GPS III a reality.”

When compared with current GPS technology, the block III constellation will provide up to three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities.

In addition, the new satellites are expected to have an on-orbit lifespan of 15 years – a 25 percent improvement on existing technology.

Lastly, the GPS III’s L1C civil signal will make it the first positioning satellite to be interoperable with other international global navigation satellite systems.

The first eight block III satellites are in production at Lockheed Martin’s processing facility outside Denver, Colorado, and the first flight article is expected to be delivered to the Air Force later this year.

Multiple GPS III satellites in production at Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Processing Facility near Denver, Colorado. Image credit: Lockheed Martin

Multiple GPS III satellites in production at Lockheed Martin’s processing facility near Denver, Colorado. Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin


Scott earned both a Bachelor's Degree in public administration, and a law degree, from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He currently practices law in the Birmingham suburb of Homewood. Scott first remembers visiting Marshall Space Flight Center in 1978 to get an up-close look at the first orbiter, Enterprise, which had been transported to Huntsville for dynamic testing. More recently, in 2006, he participated in an effort at the United States Space and Rocket Center (USSRC) to restore the long-neglected Skylab 1-G Trainer. This led to a volunteer position, with the USSRC curator, where he worked for several years maintaining exhibits and archival material, including flown space hardware. Scott attended the STS - 110, 116 and 135 shuttle launches, along with Ares I-X, Atlas V MSL and Delta IV NROL-15 launches. More recently, he covered the Atlas V SBIRS GEO-2 and MAVEN launches, along with the Antares ORB-1, SpaceX CRS-3, and Orion EFT-1 launches.

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