GPS World: First GPS IIF Satellite Undergoes Environmental Testing

First GPS IIF Satellite Undergoes Environmental Testing

Nov 5, 2007
GPS World

The U.S. Air Force GPS Wing and Boeing Corp. are set to begin
environmental testing on the first GPS IIF satellite at the Boeing
Spacecraft Development Center in El Segundo, California, the Air
Force said today.

The GPS IIF satellites will have all of the capabilities of the
previous blocks, but will feature an extended design life of 12
years, faster processors with more memory, and a third civil signal,
L5. The L5 signal will be augmented by the Federal Aviation
Administration's Wide-Area Augmentation Systems (WAAS) to improve the
reliability and robustness of safety-of-life applications for
commercial aviation.

Over the course of the upcoming months, the satellite will progress
through thermal vacuum, acoustic, and separation shock testing before
delivery to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station sometime next year with
a projected launch date in 2009.

These series of tests are required to evaluate and qualify the
integrated space vehicle design in the environments it will encounter
during launch and on-orbit operations, according to the Air Force.
This is critical to ensuring confidence in the vehicle design as well
as characterizing the performance in a simulated space environment.
The results of the tests performed on the first space vehicle will
establish the baseline for the remaining GPS IIF fleet.

"I'm delighted we are entering this critical stage of testing. The
new capabilities that GPS IIF will introduce to the GPS constellation
ensure improved operations for our civil users and our troops
fighting the ongoing war on terror," said Colonel David Madden,
commander of the GPS Wing at the Space and Missile Systems Center,
Los Angeles Air Force Base.

"This is a tremendous achievement for GPS. My space vehicle program
manager, Barbara O'Melia, and the rest of the Space Segment team have
done an outstanding job to get to this point," said John Duddy,
director of GPS Programs at Boeing.