Harris delivers fifth navigation payload for USAF GPS III satellite program

MELBOURNE, Fla. Lockheed Martin officials received the fifth of ten navigation payloads from Harris Corp. for the U.S. Air Force (USAF) GPS III satellite program.

The GPS III navigation payload features a Mission Data Unit (MDU) with a 70-percent digital design that links atomic clocks, radiation-hardened computers, and transmitters.

Lockheed Martin engineers integrated the navigation payload into the fifth GPS III space vehicle (GPS III SV05). Harris is contracted to deliver three more payloads by the first quarter of calendar year 2019 for GPS III SVs 06-08.

Four navigation payloads have been fully integrated on GPS III SV01-SV04. In September 2017, the Air Force declared the first GPS III satellite Available for Launch (AFL), with launch expected later in 2018. In December 2017, GPS III SV02 completed thermal vacuum testing and is expected to be declared AFL this summer. GPS III SV03 and SV04 are expected to undergo environmental testing this year.