The U.S. Air Force used Raytheon Company’s GPS Next-Generation Operational Control System, known as GPS OCX, to support the launch of its second GPS III satellite into space.
According to Raytheon, the ground system will now spend 10 days maneuvering the satellite into its final orbit, demonstrating GPS OCX’s ability to simultaneously support multiple GPS III spacecraft on-orbit throughout the checkout and calibration process.
“GPS OCX performed extremely well during the first launch and has exceeded performance requirements in the months since,” said Dave Wajsgras, president of Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services. “The team was well-prepared for this launch, and we’re confident the system’s performance will continue to be positive.”
GPS OCX, the enhanced ground control segment of America’s GPS system, has achieved the highest level of cybersecurity protections of any Department of Defense space system. Its open architecture design allows it to integrate advanced protections as they become available, and the system’s industry-leading cyber protections are why it will be used to support all future GPS III launches and GPS constellation operations upon operational acceptance.
Earlier this year, the team completed final qualification testing of the system’s modernized monitor station receivers, which can receive and decrypt all GPS III military and civil signals. Global installation of the receivers starts next month and keeps the program on track for full system delivery by the program’s June 2021 contractual deadline.
In addition to GPS OCX’s role, RGNext, a joint venture between Raytheon and General Dynamics Information Technology, provided operational launch support to ensure the safe launch of the United Launch Alliance’s Delta-IV rocket that was carrying the GPS III satellite. RGNext operates the launch range on behalf of the U.S. Air Force, providing maintenance, range safety, weather monitoring, communication and surveillance support for all launches conducted by defense, civil and commercial companies at the range.