GPS Block IIF
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
30 August 2010
Origin: United States of America
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Description: The GPS satellites developed under the NAVSTAR program allows any properly equipped user to determine precise time, velocity and worldwide latitude, longitude and altitude to within a few meters. Originally was designed to be an accurate guidance and navigation tool for the military services but it has been adopted by civil and commercial customers for transportation, surveying and rescue operations.
The first GPS Block I spacecraft was put into orbit on February 22, 1978. In the past, the GPS constellation spacecrafts fluctuated from 2-18 to 21 but currently the GPS constellation owned by the United States Air Force consists of 27 satellites (24+3 spares). As of 2004, the US Air Force GPS constellation consists of six planes, each one containing at least four satellites operating 24/7. Redundant satellites are being launched as spares to counterbalance attrition.
The GPS Block IIF spacecraft developed by Boeing represents the next generation GPS system designed to meet both military and civil customers requirements. Boeing potentially could build up to 16 Block IIF satellites with six satellites already ordered by the US Air Force and expected to be launched beginning in mid 2006. In early 2005, the first GPS Block IIF launch was delayed to 2007 in lieu of mid-2006.
The GPS Block IIF spacecraft will feature extended design life up to 15 years, modular design, compatibility with the EELV launch vehicle, 3 meters spherical error probable, options for L5 civil signals, increased autonomy from ground segment, and rapid on-orbit re-programmability.
Boeing received two contract options valued at $173.2 million for the GPS IIF program on 24 January 2005. The first contract option funded initial production of three NAVSTAR Block IIF spacecraft to be completed by June 2008. The second contract established long-lead hardware for the production of an additional three satellites. At this point, contract options and firm orders represent the US Air Force has commitments on 12 GPS Block IIF satellites.
Currently, Boeing is under a $1.3 billion contract to build nine GPS IIF satellites. In addition, the ground segment to support those satellites is being carried out under an $800 million contract.
In June 2006, the US Air Force awarded Boeing a $138 million follow-on contract to build three additional GPS Block IIF spacecrafts bringing to 12 the number of such satellites to join the NAVSTAR GPS constellation.
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