ROCHESTER, N.Y. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — December 22, 2011 — ITT Exelis (NYSE: XLS) has passed a key U.S. Air Force Global Positioning System III ( GPS III) program milestone. The company has successfully integrated and performed the initial power up of the GPS III Non-Flight Satellite Testbed ( GNST) Navigation Payload Element (NPE), or full-size payload prototype.
"ITT Exelis continues to progress toward the delivery of this critical GPS III component,” said Mark Pisani, vice president and general manager, Positioning, Navigation and Timing Systems, Geospatial Systems, a division of ITT Exelis. “Successfully completing the initial power-up of the GNST Navigation Payload Element demonstrates our confidence that any issues will be identified and solved prior to building the first space vehicle. ITT Exelis is committed to providing our warfighters and commercial and civilian users more accurate and reliable capabilities that improve interoperability and jam-resistance.”
The successful power-up of the GNST NPE system shows that the digital communications, telemetry and RF interfaces are working properly. It also assures that the system can be configured and operated correctly.
Scheduled for first launch in 2014, the next generation of GPS III satellites will deliver significant improvements compared with current GPS space vehicles. The new satellites, with capabilities yielding superior system security, accuracy and reliability, will improve position, navigation, and timing services for warfighters and civil users worldwide.
"The government and industry GPS III team is making excellent progress and the successful powering up of the navigation payload is the latest program milestone demonstrating we are on track to deliver the first satellite for launch in 2014,” said Lt Col Don Frew, the U.S. Air Force's GPS III program manager. “We are committed to executing the GPS III program to affordably and efficiently sustain and modernize the nation’s GPS satellite constellation.”
The GPS III team is led by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor selected by the Air Force in 2008 to build the next-generation GPS III program, together with teammates ITT Exelis, General Dynamics, Infinity Systems Engineering, Honeywell, ATK and other subcontractors. Air Force Space Command's 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS), based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.
For more than 37 years, ITT Exelis payloads and payload components have been on board every GPS satellite. They have accumulated more than 500 years of on-orbit life without a single mission-related failure due to ITT Exelis equipment.
ITT Exelis Geospatial Systems, headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., is a global supplier of innovative night vision, remote sensing and navigation solutions that provide sight and situational awareness at the space, airborne, ground and soldier levels. Key applications include image intensification and thermal imaging; advanced power supplies; multi-spectral image systems; weather and climate monitoring; space science; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; GPS-based positioning, navigation and timing systems; and image exploitation software.
ITT Exelis is a diversified, top-tier global aerospace, defense and information solutions company with strong positions in enduring and emerging global markets. Exelis is a leader in networked communications, sensing and surveillance, electronic warfare, navigation, air traffic solutions and information systems with growing positions in cyber security, composite aerostructures, logistics and technical services. The company has a 50-year legacy of innovation and technology expertise, partnering with customers worldwide to deliver affordable, mission-critical products and services for managing global threats, conflicts and complexities. Headquartered in McLean, VA, the company employs about 21,000 people and generated 2010 revenue of $5.9 billion. www.exelisinc.com