Satellite Dubbed ‘Future GPS’ Begins Key Tests

NTS-3 satellite built by L3Harris under contract 2018

WASHINGTON – L3Harris announced in January. 26 It delivered the Navigation Technology Satellite 3 (NTS-3) to the U.S. Air Force, which is currently undergoing final testing for Scheduled to launch in late 2023.

NTS-3 is an experiment funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory that will broadcast position, navigation and timing (PNT) signals from geostationary orbit. The goal is to demonstrate next-generation PNT technology to the US military and provide an alternative to GPS.

The satellite is currently undergoing a series of tests at Cortland Air Force Base in New Mexico and will soon be heading to the Air Force base. Benefield Anechoic Facilities RF testing at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

AFRL said this will be the first RF test of the new PNT signal demonstrated at NTS-3. 26 In the press release.

The 1,250-kilogram satellite was built by L3Harris under an $84 million contract awarded by AFRL in 2018.air force program Launch it on USSF-106 missionexpected to be the first national security launch by United Launch Alliance’s new Vulcan Centaur rocket.

AFRL and MITER Corporation have developed a reprogrammable software-defined receiver that allows users to receive both legacy GPS and the new NTS-3 signals. Parsons is growing ground system.

Once in orbit, NTS-3 will operate independently of GPS. New signaling techniques and advanced waveforms will make it harder for adversaries to jam or spoof, AFRL said. The Air Force designates it as “vanguard” plan to give it greater visibility and attention.

L3Harris built the NTS-3 on the Northrop Grumman ESPAStar commercial bus. If the experiment is successful, the Air Force may decide to transfer some of the NTS-3 payload and signal processing technology to GPS, or it may consider purchasing more satellites to expand the GPS constellation deployed in medium Earth orbit.

The Air Force estimates that approximately 20 NTS-3 satellites are required to provide global PNT coverage.

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