USAF Research Lab delays NTS-3 launch again

July 25, 2023  - By
NTS-3 (Image: L3Harris)

NTS-3 (Image: L3Harris)

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory has pushed back the launch of the Navigation Technology Satellite-3 (NTS-3) until spring 2024 as the debut of the Vulcan Centaur rocket from the United Launch Alliance (ULA) — that NTS-3 was set to be launched on — has been delayed, reported Defense News.

NTS-3 was scheduled to launch later this year aboard and would remain in a near-geosynchronous orbit for an inaugural year of testing. The experimental satellite aims to shape the future of U.S. positioning, navigation and timing capabilities and to help U.S. forces to operate in GPS-denied environments and areas prone to spoofing.

According to Defense News, ULA delayed the debut of the Vulcan Centaur rocket as it is incorporating a fix to a testing anomaly, which was discovered in March.

NTS-3 minimizes the impacts of GPS jamming through rapidly reprogrammable signal waveforms, frequency agility and increased signal strength. Its embedded software and firmware are reprogrammable on-orbit.

When paired with reprogrammable receivers, the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force can react in real time as threats evolve on the battlefield. In addition, NTS-3 has enhanced processors to support more complex signals.

In January, L3Harris delivered the NTS-3 vehicle to Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, to prepare the satellite for launch. The Air Force Research Laboratory and L3Harris are working together to complete space vehicle testing, as well as to launch vehicle integration and enterprise integration to confirm compatibility between the control segment, ground receivers and the satellite vehicle.

About the Author: Maddie Saines

Maddie was a managing editor at GPS World.