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CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Sept. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The prototype for Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT]'s next generation
GPS III satellite reached a major milestone on
August 30 when it successfully established remote connectivity and communicated with the GPS Next Generation Operational Control System (
OCX), being developed by Raytheon [NYSE: RTN], during a series of pre-flight tests.
During the Compatibility and Integration (C&I) Tests, Lockheed Martin's GPS III Non-flight Satellite Testbed (GNST) – a full-sized, functional satellite prototype currently residing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – proved that it could connect with and receive commands from Raytheon's Launch and Check Out System (LCS), part of the next-generation OCX that supports the satellite and mitigates risks prior to launch.
The GNST received commands from the LCC node at Lockheed Martin's facility in
Newtown, PA via the OCX servers at Raytheon's facility in
Aurora, CO, the system then returned satellite telemetry to the control station. The tests mirror launch and early orbit testing planned for all flight vehicles.
"The GNST is essentially a non-flying, functional GPS III satellite. While we have connected OCX with ground-based simulators before, these C&I tests were the first time that OCX and a GPS III satellite have actually communicated," explained
Keoki Jackson, vice president for Lockheed Martin's Navigation Systems mission area.
Matthew Gilligan, a vice president with Raytheon's Intelligence, Information and Services business and Raytheon's GPS OCX program manager, stated, "This was an invaluable early opportunity to demonstrate command and control of the GPS III satellite with LCS, proving the end-to-end system capabilities well before putting an actual GPS III in orbit. The positive results tell us that we are right on track for the first GPS III launch."
The LCS works hand-in-hand with Lockheed Martin's Launch and Checkout Capability (LCC) contract, which brings online some of OCX's GPS III-specific capabilities early to provide on-orbit checkout and control of the satellites.