Global Positioning System (GPS)

Product Type:

Satellite System - Navigation

Using Service (US):

Air Force (USAF)

Program Status:

In Production (Block IIIA)

Prime Contractors:

GPS IIF: The Boeing Company
GPS IIIA: Lockheed Martin Corporation
GPS OCX Phase A: Raytheon Company

Specifications DoD Spending FY2015 Budget

The Global Positioning System (GPS)

About the GPS Program:





The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a constellation of orbiting satellites that provides navigation data to military and civilian users all over the world. As of June 2014, there are 31 GPS Block II satellites in the constellation. The system is operated and controlled by the 50th Space Wing at Schriever Air Force Base (AFB) in Colorado. GPS provides a global, three-dimensional positioning, navigation, and timing information system - used by the U.S. military for aircraft, artillery, ships, tanks and other weapon systems.

GPS satellites orbit the earth every 12 hours and send continuous navigation signals. Users can receive these signals to calculate time, location and velocity. The GPS signals are so accurate that time can be figured to within a millionth of a second, velocity within a fraction of a mile per hour, and location to within 100 feet.

GPS provides 24-hour navigation services including:
-Extremely accurate, three-dimensional location information
-A global common grid that is easily converted to any local grid
-Passive all-weather operations
-Continuous real-time information
-Support to an unlimited number of users and areas
-Support to civilian users at a slightly less accurate level.

The Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program supports the launch of GPS satellites from Cape Canaveral Air Station in Florida. GPS satellites are launched into 11,000-mile circular orbits. While orbiting the earth, the current systems transmit signals on two different L-band frequencies. GPS II satellites have a design life of 7.5 years, but many remain operational for as long as 10-12 years or more. The most recent GPS satellite, Block IIF-6, was launched on May 17, 2014.

GPS capabilities were put to the test during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Allied troops relied heavily on GPS to navigate the featureless Arabian Desert. During operations Enduring Freedom, Noble Eagle and Iraqi Freedom, GPS contributions increased significantly. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, the GPS satellite constellation allowed the delivery of GPS-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) with pinpoint precision (to about 10 feet) and with minimal collateral damage.

The Block I satellites, built by Rockwell International (now Boeing), were launched from 1978 to 1985. The last of 11 Block I satellites was turned off in November 1995. The Block II satellites, were launched from 1989 to 2014. A total of 55 satellites were launched of which 31 are still in operation. 37 Block II/IIA were built by Rockwell International (now Boeing); 13 Block IIR and 8 Block IIR-M were built by Lockheed Martin; and 6 Block IIF were built by Boeing.



GPS IIIA Satellite:

The newest GPS satellite, the Lockheed Martin GPS IIIA payload, will deliver significant enhancements, including a new L1C (civil) Galileo-compatible signal and enhanced M-code earth coverage power. The GPS IIIA satellites will deliver signals three times more accurate than current GPS payloads and provide three times more power for military users, while at the same time enhancing design life and adding a new civil signal - designed to be interoperable with international global navigation satellite systems. The GPS III production team consists of Lockheed Martin, ITT Exelis, General Dynamics, Honeywell, and Infinity Systems Engineering. The Air Force plans to purchase eight GPS IIIA satellites. Initial launch is planned for 2014.

In May 2008, the first GPS III contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin for the development and production of two initial space vehicles (SV-1 and SV-2), with options for up to ten additional SVs. In January 2012, the Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a $238 million contract for the production of GPS III SV-3 and SV-4. On February 25, 2013, the U.S. Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin two fixed-price contracts totaling $120 million for long lead parts for GPS III satellites SV-5, SV-6, SV-7 and SV-8. On December 13, 2013, the Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin $200 million in contract options to complete production of SV-5 and SV-6. On April 1, 2014, the Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin $245 million in contract options to complete production of SV-7 and SV-8.



Raytheon GPS OCX:

Raytheon will produce the GPS OCX, which is the next generation Global Positioning System Advanced Control Segment. The OCX will provide command and control of the GPS IIA, IIR, IIR-M, IIF, and IIIA satellites and replaces the OCX Master Control Station and Alternate Master Control Station. Also, the OCX upgrades the U.S. Air Force and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) monitor stations and modifies the existing ground antennas. Furthermore, the OCX provides monitoring of all current GPS signals as well as the new L1C, L2C, L5, and M-Code signals. The Raytheon production team includes Boeing, ITT Exelis, Braxton Technologies, Infinity Systems Engineering, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

In February 2010, the Air Force awarded Raytheon an initial contract of $886 million to develop the new OCX element of the GPS to improve the accuracy and availability of GPS navigation signals. The initial 73-month contract, among other things, calls for development and installation of hardware and software at GPS control stations at Schriever Air Force Base (AFB) in Colorado and Vandenberg AFB in California.



Price/Unit Cost:

The unit cost of a GPS IIIA satellite is $224.62 million (in FY 2014).



Total Cost - Life of Program (LoP):

The total procurement cost of the GPS III program is $1.72 billion (official DoD estimate) + $6.20 billion in research and development (RDT&E) funds, which means the total estimated program cost is $7.92 billion (numbers are aggregated annual funds spent over the life of the program and no price/inflation adjustment was made).



Mission/Role:

The GPS constellation provides worldwide positioning, navigation, and precise time to military and civilian users.



FY 2014 DoD Program:

Funds in the amount of $450.2 million will purchase two GPS IIIA satellites (SV-7 and SV-8). Also, FY 14 continues the development of the next generation GPS ground control system (GPS-OCX) and the GPS III Space Segment with $373.1 million and $201.0 million in RDT&E funds, respectively.

FY 14 also provides funds in the amount of $58.0 million required for Global Positioning System (GPS) Block IIF satellite launch and on-orbit support, including satellite transportation from the factory to the launch site, launch processing and booster integration, launch operations, and on-orbit checkout and operations.



FY 2015 DoD Program:

Funds in the amount of $292.4 million will purchase one GPS IIIA satellite (SV-9), as well as the advanced procurement for satellite SV-10. Continues the development of GPS OCX Blocks 1 and 2 and funds the technology development of Military GPS User Equipment (MGUE) Increment 1. Funds the GPS Program Office's responsibility as the Prime Integrator (Enterprise Integration) to synchronize space, control and user segment programs and manage civil/military specifications and requirements. For more information, click to see the USAF FY 2015 GPS III Budget.

FY 15 also provides funds in the amount of $54.2 million for Global Positioning System (GPS) Block IIF satellite launch and on-orbit support, including satellite storage, transportation from the factory to the launch site, launch processing and booster integration, launch operations, and on-orbit checkout and operations. For more information, click to see the USAF FY 2015 GPS II Budget.




Source: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Lockheed Martin Corp., Raytheon Co.,
and Boeing.

Last Update: October 28, 2014.

By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard Balle /// (jkasper@bga-aeroweb.com)

External Resources:



Lockheed Martin: GPS Satellite IIIA
Raytheon: OCX Advanced Control System

Boeing: GPS IIF Satellite
Schriever AFB: 50th Space Wing

YouTube: Global Positioning System | YouTube Videos

Brochure: Lockheed Martin GPS IIIA | Brochure
Fact Sheet: Lockheed Martin GPS IIIA | Fact Sheet
Fact Sheet: Raytheon GPS OCX | Fact Sheet

Total GPS III Program Cost:

  $7.92 billion  ($1.72B procurement + $6.20B RDT&E)

GPS III Procurement Objective:

  8 satellites  (6 production and 2 development)

GPS U.S. Defense Budget Charts:

DoD Spending on the Global Positioning System (GPS) in FY 2011, FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014 and FY 2015
DoD Purchases of GPS III Satellites in FY 2011, FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014 and FY 2015
Defense Budget Data

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DoD Spending, Procurement and RDT&E: FY 2011/12/13 + Budget for FYs 2014 + 2015

DoD Defense Spending, Procurement, Modifications, Spares, and RDT&E for the Global Positioning System (GPS)

Download Official U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Budget Data:

GPS IIIA Satellite Purchases (USAF) Support of GPS II Satellites (USAF)
Specifications

Specifications: GPS IIIA Satellite

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Primary Function: Constellation of satellites that provide navigational data to military and civilian users
Prime Contractor: Lockheed Martin Corp.
Orbit: Six orbit planes at 55 degree inclination
Height: 134 in (3.40 m)
Depth: 70 in (1.78 m)
Width: 97 in (2.46 m)
Weight (Launch): 8,115 lbs (3,680 kg)
Weight (On-Orbit): 4,764 lbs (2,160 kg)
Altitude: 10,898 nm/12,540 miles (20,180 km)
Position Accuracy: 2.07 ft (0.63 m) with continuous updates from the control segment
Signals: L1 C/A, L1 P(Y), L1M, L1C, L2C, L2 P(Y), L2M, and L5
Design Life: 15 years (12-year mean mission duration)
Price/Unit Cost: $224.6 million (in FY 2014)
Deployed: First launch is planned in FY 2014.

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