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Lockheed, Air Force Send Second GPS III Satellite to Orbit

Jeff Brody

A second GPS III satellite that Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) built for the U.S. Air Force has responded to commands and used an internal propulsion system while cruising toward its operational orbit. GPS III Space Vehicle 02, nicknamed “Magellan,” separated from United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV rocket shortly after the craft lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, Lockheed said Thursday.

Lockheed engineers in Colorado are using the GPS Next Generation Operational Control System to manage the satellite. Johnathon Caldwell, vice president for navigation systems at Lockheed’s space business, said the team will work to continue sending the satellite to its operational orbit and send commands for solar array and antenna deployment in the coming days.

“Once we are set up, we’ll begin on-orbit checkout and tests, including extensive signals testing with our advanced navigation payload,” he added.

SV02 is equipped with anti-jamming and signalling features designed to work with global navigation systems. Lockheed produces GPS III satellites at a company facility near Denver and is under contract to deliver a maximum of 32 GPS III/IIIF to the Air Force.

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