Aerojet Rocketdyne to advance GPS satellite constellation modernization

Aerojet Rocketdyne has announced it provided several propulsion systems to support the launch of a new US Air Force Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite, built by Lockheed Martin and known as GPS III Space Vehicle 02 (GPS III SV02), the company said.

The launch on August 22 was aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket. GPS III SV02 is the second of up to 32 planned GPS III satellites which will help the Air Force modernize the GPS constellation with new technology and advanced capabilities.

This launch marked the final mission for ULA´s Delta IV Medium rocket. The more powerful Delta IV Heavy rocket will remain in production to meet the nation´s heavy-lift launch requirements until the next generation of US heavy-lift launch vehicles are certified to carry payloads to orbit. The Delta IV Heavy is currently the only launch vehicle certified to fly the nation´s heaviest Category C national security payloads.

The GPS III SV02 satellite uses Aerojet Rocketdyne thrusters for orbit maintenance and adjustment, attitude control and end-of-life decommissioning. The spacecraft is equipped with 12 Aerojet Rocketdyne MR-103G thrusters, each generating 0.2 pounds of thrust, and six MR-106L thrusters, each producing 5 pounds of thrust.

Lockheed Martin is under contract to develop and build up to 32 GPS III/IIIF satellites for the Air Force. GPS III will deliver three times better accuracy and provide up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities. GPS III is the first GPS satellite to broadcast the new L1C civil signal to be interoperable with other international global navigation satellite systems, like Galileo.

The Air Force maintains a constellation of at least 24 GPS satellites in Medium Earth Orbit providing positioning, timing and navigation information for military, commercial and civilian use. GPS data support applications ranging from guiding precision munitions, to commercial navigation, to time-stamping bank transactions.

Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), is an aerospace and defense leader that provides propulsion systems and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, and tactical systems areas, in support of domestic and international customers.