The United States Space Force (USSF) and the Space and the Missile Systems Center achieved another major Global Positioning System (GPS) milestone on July 27 when the GPS III Space Vehicle (SV) 03 received USSF’s Operational Acceptance approval.
The GPS III satellites are the newest generation built by Lockheed Martin that provide precise positioning, navigation and timing information with three times better accuracy, and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capability than previous generations of GPS satellites. This marks the third GPS III satellite to receive operational acceptance in less than a year.
SV03 was launched on June 30 and was the second National Security Space Launch (NSSL) mission launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. This was the first NSSL mission where a Launch Service Provider recovered a booster, with SpaceX successfully recovering the first stage and fairings as part of the launch. The GPS III SV03 mission was dedicated to Colonel Thomas G. Falzarano, 21st Space Wing Commander, who passed away in May.
“We are adding GPS warfighter capability and resiliency with each new GPS III satellite. The on-boarding of GPS III SV03 enables our first use of cross link commanding capability for assured nuclear detection. With the GPS III SV03 addition to the constellation, our modernized signals capable satellites increases to 22 vehicles,” said Lt. Colonel Michael Schriever, 2nd Space Operations Squadron Commander.
This results in nearly a fully capable Military-Code constellation which our space warfighters will operate to deliver expanded capabilities to the joint force,” he added.
The USSF’s Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the center of excellence for developing, acquiring and delivering military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.