Raytheon Co.

Ground Stations Provide Enhanced Control of GPS III Satellites

Jan. 16, 2019
Along with the launching of GPS III next-generation GPS satellites, the GPS Next-Generation Control System (GPS OCX) developed by Raytheon Co. will provide precise orbiting and system control from the ground for the new satellites.

In support of the launch of the first, next-generation GPS III satellite (GPS III SV01) by Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Co. has developed the GPS Next-Generation Control System (GPS OCX) for maneuvering and controlling the orbiting satellite. Achieving the final, precise orbit for this timing/position-location satellite is a painstaking operation that requires 10 or more days to accomplish using the GPS OCX.

“The GPS OCX Block 0 launch and checkout system is foundational to the improved precision, navigation and timing of the entire constellation,” said Dave Wajsgras, president of Raytheon Intelligence, Information, and Services, "and we’ll all benefit from the system’s unprecedented level of cybersecurity protections.”

The GPS OCX Block 0 launch and checkout system for controlling GPS III satellites was installed at Schriever Air Force Base. (Courtesy: Raytheon Co.)

This latest generation of the GPS OCX station will also support the launch of future GPS III satellites to enhance GPS timekeeping/positioning capabilities and GPS accuracy for both military and civilian users. It will also handle more than twice the GPS satellites as earlier ground control system. The ground system features an open architecture that allows upgrades when needed and integration of new capabilities when required. However, it also provides the highest level of cybersecurity protection claimed for any U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) space system to guard against cyberthreats.

The open architecture permits modifications at any time in response to new cyberthreats.  Delivery of the GPS OCX ground stations will take in stages or blocks, beginning with the delivering of the Block 0 GPS OCX station to enable the launch and positioning of the first GPS III satellite. Additional deliveries, as Block 1 and Block 2 GPS OCX systems, are planned for delivery by 2021. These will increase ground control capabilities for additional GPS III satellites in the GPS constellation.

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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