The United States Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center has transferred Satellite Control Authority of the Global Positioning System III Space Vehicle 05 to the 2nd Space Operations Squadron, Schriever Air Force Base.
Less than one day after SCA, on June 29, 2021, GPS III SV05 received Operational Acceptance approval, marking the first GPS III SV to receive SCA handover and Operational Acceptance within 24 hours and decreasing the time from launch to on-orbit operational capability by 97 percent and expediting delivery of GPS capabilities to the warfighter. The partnership with Lockheed Martin and confidence in the GPS III SV design has enabled near, real-time delivery, thanks to the collaboration and integration between the acquisition team, industry, and the operational community.
In 2020, the GPS enterprise launched two GPS III SVs in the midst of a global pandemic. Despite the challenges presented by this pandemic, the enterprise continued to streamline the process from launch to Operational Acceptance by continuously shrinking the delivery timeline. The innovation and teamwork across the GPS enterprise has enhanced the rapid identification and elimination of redundant on-orbit verification steps.
SV05, nicknamed “ARMSTRONG,” was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 vehicle on June 17, 2021. This marks the first National Security Space Launch on a previously-flown Falcon 9 booster. In fact, SV05 reused the same booster that delivered GPS III SV04 to orbit in November of 2020. GPS III SV05 is joining the GPS positioning, navigation, and timing constellation of 31 operational satellites.
The Lockheed Martin-built GPS III SVs provide improved accuracy, advanced anti-jam capabilities, and increased resiliency for the GPS constellation and the 4 billion users worldwide. GPS III SV05 will be set healthy to all global users in September 2021, following the completion of on-orbit testing.
“The inclusion of GPS III SV05 into the operational constellation marks another significant milestone for the enterprise with 24 M-Code capable satellites,” said Colonel Heather J. Anderson, Transition Director.