US Space Force Orders 3 GPS Satellites in $744M Contract

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On Nov. 29, the United States Space Force (USSF) announced a $744 million contract with Lockheed Martin.

Signed by the US Air Force, yesterday’s order requested three more GPS 3F satellites – space vehicles 18, 19 and 20.

This marks the fourth contact option exercised under a potential $7.2 billion contract. The first was an order for two GPS 3F (space vehicles 11 and 12) in Sept. 2018, valued at $1.3 billion. The second, in Oct. 2022, was a $511 million contract for two satellites (space vehicles 13 and 14). The third was for space vehicles 15, 16 and 17, valued at $737 million.

Out of the 10 GPS 3 models the USSF has purchased, five have been launched so far.

GPS 3F is the latest version of the US satellites designed to provide global positioning, navigation, and timing support to US military and civilian customers. They’re the most powerful GPS satellites ever built for the USSF. The system is equipped with an improved nuclear detection detonation payload, anti-jamming capabilities, a laser retroreflector array, and search and rescue technologies.

Lockheed were previously commissioned to produce 10 GPS 3 satellites in 2008, but have now progressed production to the GPS 3F version.

These new GPS satellites will bring the US’s current constellation of 31 spacecraft into 2022, replacing systems dating back to the 1990s and early 2000s.

These contracts mark an exciting era for the space sector. With each new satellite, the USSF will modernise their GPS constellation to improve accuracy and capability, taking us into the next age of GPS.