Block II GPS Satellite Retires after 22 Years

January 9, 2015  - By
Image: GPS World

Jan. 6 was the last day of service for GPS satellite SVN-26. SVN-26 was a Boeing/Rockwell International Block II GPS satellite launched July 7, 1992. It was one of the first generation of operational GPS satellites, and had a design life of only 7.5 years. On Jan. 7, SVN-26 (PRN-26) was transferred from the operational ground control system (AEP) to Launch, Anomaly and Disposal Operations (LADO).

CGSIC Executive Secretariat Rick Hamilton, USCG Navigation Center, remarked on its longevity. “A testament to the satellite engineers and the men and women of the Air Force, the Second Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base has successfully managed SVN-26 in its mission for over 22 years.”

In the near term, PRN-26 will be used for clock checkout activities on a few LADO satellites. The compatibility test for SVN-71, the next IIF satellite to launch (SVN-71/IIF-9), is scheduled for the week of Jan. 19. PRN-26 will be used by SVN-71 for the compatibility test, and then be used again for LADO satellite clock tests.

PRN-26 will be reassigned to SVN-71 just before launch from Cape Canaveral on March 25.

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2 Comments on "Block II GPS Satellite Retires after 22 Years"

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  1. Pete T says:

    No mention of ITT! Clifton, NJ. We’re the guys that MADE the Payload!!!

  2. Rick Reaser says:

    I was in charge of the GPS Block II 28 satellite “Block Buy” contract in GPS Joint Program Office in the late ’70s/early ’80s. My name appears in the contract proper. I wrote a letter to the GPS World Editors that appeared in the November 2008 issue that tried to dispel some of the “mythology” on who built what payload-wise over the years on GPS. ITT, who was located in Nutley, not Clifton NJ at the time, did not build the GPS Block II payload. ITT build the L1 and L2 amplifiers and modulators–a small but significant part of the overall payload. The largest and most important components of the Block II payload, the 50 lb Navigation Data Unit as well as the Rubidium Clocks, Triplexer and Antenna were built by Autonetics. The power supply (DC/DC converter) for the ITT equipment was built by General Electric. The Cesium Clocks were built by FTS, Kernco and FEI. The GPS Block II payload had many mothers that fathers–not just ITT. If I could get someone in the GPS Program Office to work with me, I would love to update my 2008 table to include who is building what on GPS III. I understand, however, that ITT is having some difficulty with the GPS III payload and Congress is now involved. ITT has had issues on every GPS Satellite Block and has managed to resolve things. Hopefully that will be that case for GPS III. P.S. I never imagined one of the satellites on my contract would last 22 years.