The System: First OCX receiver delivered to Air Force

November 3, 2016  - By
Photo: Harris

Photo: Harris

Harris Corporation delivered the first of 34 modernized receivers to support the GPS Next-Generation Operational Control System (OCX). They will receive the signals sent by the current GPS satellite constellation plus the new signals sent by the next generation GPS III — 13 military and civilian signals in all.

The receiver was shipped to the prime contractor, Raytheon Company, in Aurora, Colorado, after it passed a critical electromagnetic interference test, the first of many stringent qualification requirements. Though the receivers will be placed throughout the world, this first production unit will be installed in Aurora as OCX software development and integration continues.

OCX will replace the existing ground control system that receives signals from the 31 operational GPS satellites already orbiting Earth. Only OCX will be able to receive and decrypt all GPS III military and civil signals, however.

In addition to receivers, Harris has delivered 14 ground encryptors that will help protect the GPS signal. Harris also is providing critical software elements, which provide the fundamental navigation data to the GPS satellites and enable U.S. Air Force operators to better know and monitor the exact position and timing of the GPS constellation.

Risk Reduction Testing Completed for GPS OCX

Image: Raytheon

Image: Raytheon

Raytheon reached a milestone in development of the GPS Next Generation Operational Control System (OCX), completing a series of Risk Reduction functional checkouts of OCX Block 1 capabilities, with a focus on OCX software.

This activity integrated iteration 1.5 of the OCX Block 1 Master Control Station with the GPS System Simulator and ran operational scenarios, representing the first end-to-end integration of available Block 1 capabilities.

The testing included GPS constellation management and sustainment, demonstrating OCX’s abilities for precision navigation and timing capabilities in a fully cyber-hardened environment.

The test also included running Kalman filters and generating GPS satellite navigation uploads. Future development will add to and expand capability to include both the civil and military modernized signals.

OCX’s development is delivered in “blocks,” with Block 0 comprising the Launch and Checkout System to take GPS III satellites into early orbit. Block 1 is built on Block 0 and delivers the full OCX capability, which allows the Air Force to transition from its current GPS ground controls to the modernized and secure GPS OCX master control station.

GPS OCX is being developed by Raytheon under contract to the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.

M-Code User Equipment Certified

L-3 Communications announced that its next-generation military code (M-code) GPS user equipment has successfully completed the final step in a government security certification process. L-3’s M-code GPS features advanced user equipment technology, increasing soldiers’ ability to resist enemy jamming and spoofing and performing significantly better in contested environments. The development and certification of this technology was performed under the Air Force Military GPS User Equipment (MGUE) program led by the GPS Directorate.

Certification review was performed by an independent government review team, with a focus on the security design of the L-3 GPS User Equipment. The goal of these new security standards is to further protect the integrity of the navigation and timing solutions and provide required safeguards for critical information inside GPS User Equipment.

Work on this project will be done by L-3 Interstate Electronics Corporation (L-3 IEC), which is part of the Precision Engagement and Training sector within L-3’s Electronic Systems business segment.

The first eight GPS III satellites are under contract and in production at Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Processing Facility outside of Denver.

The first eight GPS III satellites are under contract and in production at Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Processing Facility outside of Denver.

GPS III Satellites 9 and 10 Procured, Launches Targeted for 2022

The U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center awarded a contract option to Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company to procure two additional GPS III satellites, space vehicles nine and 10 of the next generation. The contract option procures long lead and production hardware.

“The GPS III SV 9 and 10 satellites are expected to be ready for launch in 2022, thus sustaining the GPS constellation and the global utility the world has come to expect,” said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, the Space and Missile Systems Center’s commander.

The Lockheed Martin team is finishing up final testing and integration activities on the first GPS III satellite, GPS III SV01, and is preparing to deliver it to the Air Force later this year. The second satellite, GPS III SV02, is poised to have its major functional systems fully integrated into one space vehicle prior to starting its own environmental testing. GPS III SV03 also is beginning to take form in the company’s production clean room as its major subcomponents are being assembled. All eight of the first set of GPS III satellites are in various stages of production at Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Processing Facility outside of Denver.

The government expects to compete future purchases of GPS III satellites, beginning with GPS III SV 11. This competition will maintain the current technical baseline of GPS III and will add additional hosted payloads to increase system accuracy, search-and-rescue capability, and universal S-band compatibility.

European GNSS Service Centre Opens

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) is gearing up to assume its operational role for Galileo in early 2017. This summer, the GSA formally accepted the Loyola de Palacio facility in Madrid, Spain, that houses the European GNSS Service Centre (GSC). This is a significant milestone in the development of the programme and its service provision as Galileo’s “door to the GNSS world.”

GSA already oversees the operation and service provision for the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), along with managing the security accreditation and general security provision for both programmes.

The GSC offers 1,100 square metres of space and employs over 40 people. Since 2013, the core team at GSC has been providing limited services and working as a precursor to GSC v1. Its key work includes supporting the lead up to Galileo Initial Services provision, along with operating the GSC Helpdesk, disseminating orbital products to the search-and-rescue community, supporting GNSS-related research and industrial activity, and monitoring user satisfaction.

Once operational, GSC v1 will be connected to the Galileo core system, enabling the long-anticipated Commercial Service. This service is expected to enter operations by mid-2017.

1 Comment on "The System: First OCX receiver delivered to Air Force"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Gordon reichal says:

    Requirement stability seems to remain an issue.