A joint U.S. Air Force/Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] team announced today that the first modernized Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite has been declared fully operational for GPS users around the globe following extensive on-orbit testing of the spacecraft’s new military and civilian signals.
Launched on Sept. 25 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. the GPS IIR-14 (M) satellite is the most technologically advanced GPS satellite ever developed. The spacecraft features a modernized antenna panel that provides increased signal power to receivers on the ground, two new military signals for improved accuracy, enhanced encryption and anti-jamming capabilities for the military, and a second civil signal that will provide users with an open access signal on a different frequency.
The second modernized GPS sat will launch early next year. A total of eight of these birds is planned.
Meanwhile, the first Galileo launch was pushed back from December 26th to the 28th. Galileo is a European system similar to GPS. The first satellite, built by Britain, will be launched on a Russian Soyuz rocket.