GPS III satellite delivery slips because of capacitor

September 15, 2016  - By
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Image: GPS World

Lockheed Martin has pushed back the delivery of the first GPS III satellite by four months after discovering that a subcontractor failed to conduct testing on a ceramic capacitor, part of the navigation payload, according to Bloomberg.

Delivery of the satellite was expected in August, but will now be delayed four more months and won’t be shipped until at least December. The satellite is already 28 months late.

While the Air Force has said the satellite would launch no earlier than 2017, some industry officials expect that a 2018 launch is more likely especially as the Pentagon absorbs delays with the next-generation GPS ground system known as the Operational Control Segment, Bloomberg reports.

Read more about the federal budget’s impact on GPS in Contributing Editor Don Jewell’s latest Defense PNT column.

Testing of the part, a ceramic capacitor, should have been completed as long as five years ago, including evaluating how long it will operate without failing, Colonel Steve Whitney, program manager for the GSP program, told the website. About 600 of the capacitors are on the initial satellite, which cost approximately $529 million.

The capacitor is part of a series of circuit cards that take higher voltage power from the satellite’s power system and reduce it to a voltage required for a particular subsystem.

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