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L3Harris clears critical design review for experimental satellite navigation program

September 1, 2020  - By
Satellite NTS-3 above Earth. (Illustration: Lt. Jacob Lutz, AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate)

Satellite NTS-3 above Earth. (Illustration: Lt. Jacob Lutz, AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate)

L3Harris Technologies is on track to begin building the U.S. Air Force’s first Navigation Technology Satellite-3 (NTS-3) after completing the program’s critical design review.

According to L3Harris, it will integrate the program’s experimental payload with an ESPAStar Platform, planned for launch in 2022. The system is designed to augment space-based position, navigation and timing (PNT) capabilities for warfighters.

The NTS-3 payload features a modular design, and the experiment will demonstrate capabilities that can be accomplished through a stand-alone satellite constellation or as a hosted payload.

“Collaboration with our customers has enabled us to move rapidly through important milestones to design this experimental satellite,” said Ed Zoiss, president, space and airborne systems, L3Harris. “Our goal is to deliver new signals to support rapidly evolving warfighter missions.”

The Space Enterprise Consortium selected L3Harris for the $84 million contract in 2018 as the prime system integrator to design, develop, integrate and test NTS-3. The NTS-3 will examine ways to improve the resiliency of the military’s PNT capabilities. It will also develop key technologies relevant to the GPS constellation, with the opportunity for insertion of these technologies into the GPS IIIF program, L3Harris said.

The program is a collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory, Space and Missile Systems Center, U.S.Space Force, and Air Force Lifecycle Management Center.

About the Author:


Allison Kral is the former digital media manager for North Coast Media (NCM). She completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio University where she received a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She works across a number of digital platforms, which include creating e-newsletters, writing articles and posting across social media sites. She also creates content for NCM's Pit & Quarry magazine, Portable Plants magazine and Geospatial Solutions. Her understanding of the ever-changing digital media world allows her to quickly grasp what a target audience desires and create content that is appealing and relevant for any client across any platform.

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