Satellite billed as the ‘future GPS’ begins key tests

The NTS-3 satellite tv for pc was constructed by L3Harris beneath 2018 contract

WASHINGTON — L3Harris introduced Jan. 26 it delivered the Navigation Know-how Satellite tv for pc-3 (NTS-3) to the U.S. Air Power and the spacecraft is now present process ultimate exams in preparation for a planned launch in late 2023.

NTS-3 is an experiment funded by the Air Power Analysis Laboratory that can broadcast positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) alerts from geostationary Earth orbit. The aim is to exhibit next-generation PNT applied sciences for the U.S. army and supply a substitute for GPS.

The satellite tv for pc is now going by means of a sequence of exams at Kirtland Air Power Base, New Mexico, and can quickly head to the Air Power’s Benefield Anechoic Facility at Edwards Air Power Base, California, for radio frequency testing. 

 This would be the first radio frequency exams of the brand new PNT alerts to be demonstrated by NTS-3, AFRL stated Jan. 26 in a information launch. 

The 1,250-kilogram satellite tv for pc was constructed by L3Harris beneath a $84 million contract awarded in 2018 by AFRL. The Air Power plans to launch it on the USSF-106 mission, projected to be the primary nationwide safety launch by United Launch Alliance’s new Vulcan Centaur rocket.

 AFRL and MITRE Corp. developed a reprogrammable software-defined receiver that can enable customers to obtain each legacy GPS and the brand new NTS-3 alerts. Parsons Corp. is developing the bottom system. 

As soon as in orbit, NTS-3 will function independently of GPS. AFRL stated the brand new sign know-how and superior waveforms will make it tougher for adversaries to jam or spoof. The Air Power designated it a “Vanguard” program which provides it larger visibility and a spotlight.

L3Harris constructed NTS-3 on a Northrop Grumman ESPAStar business bus. If the experiment is profitable, the Air Power might determine to transition a few of the NTS-3 payload and sign processing know-how to GPS, and may also take into account shopping for extra satellites to reinforce the GPS constellation, which is deployed in medium Earth orbit. 

About 20 NTS-3 satellites could be wanted to supply world PNT protection, the Air Power estimated. 


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