Tuesday, from Cape Canaveral, the U.S. Air Force launched Vespucci, the first advanced GPS III satellite, into space on a Falcon 9 rocket. Raytheon announced on its website that the company’s GPS Next-Generation Operational Control System will maneuver the satellite into orbit at about 12,500 miles into space.
GPS III will join 31 other operational GPS II satellites already in orbit, delivering positioning, navigation and timing services for GPS users. Once the GPS III constellation becomes fully operational in 2021, it will boast a host of new features.
A new civilian signal called L1C will increase interoperability with other global GPS systems and the new GPS III’s M-code signal for military use will provide increased anti-jam capability and better penetration into hard-to-reach locations.
Vespucci is the first in a series of GPS-III satellites planned for launch over the next several years, delivering three times greater accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities over the previous generation of satellites.
“We’re breaking new ground in a number of areas,” said Jayson Cowley, Raytheon’s GPS OCX mission readiness campaign senior manager.
Additionally, Raytheon says its ground system—GPS OCS Block 0—has achieved the highest level of cybersecurity protections of any U.S. Department of Defense space system, allowing it to adopt new capabilities and signals as they become available, ensuring continued protection against new cyber attacks.
December 21, 2018