If you’ve ever had trouble with obtaining a proper lock on your PND, you’ll be glad to know that some clever scientists have come up with some new technology that will largely eradicate such problems, making connecting on your free laptop easier than ever before. The program, which has been developed by Lockheed Martin, is expected to cost some £4 billion and will finally reach prototype stage by the year 2014.
The prototype, known as the Block III or the GPS III Non-Flight Satellite Test Bed, will be launched over the coming years in some 32 versions by the Air Force. The results of such a launch will be beneficial in a variety of ways. Firstly, accuracy, power and reliability of connections will be significantly improved and free laptop users will find it much easier to ‘tune in’. Secondly, the possibilities for potential ‘highjackers’ or ‘hackers’ to jam connections will be significantly reduced. And finally, while with current technology getting a proper lock can be achieved within a range of ten feet, the new technology will ensure the distance is reduced to three. This kind of accuracy, formerly only available to the military, will now extend to the general population.
Having been recently delivered to the company’s facilities in Denver, Colorado, the GPS III Pathfinder will now be completed and will then undergo a process of integration where numerous tests will be carried out. The facilities in Denver have been specifically redesigned for this particular project in an attempt to both optimise capabilities of satellite production and reduce costs.
The ultimate aim of the program is to replace out-of-date GPS satellites in a cost-effective way. The benefits of such replacement should effectively meet the demands of military, commercial and civilian users on a global scale. In addition to improved accuracy and ‘blocking’ powers, a civil signal is being introduced. This has been specifically designed to be fully integrated into existing international satellite-based global navigation systems.
The prototype GNST is a working version of the GPS III satellite and has been designed to iron out any developmental issues with regards to the integration of the actual space vehicle. This approach, of using a prototype first, will not only include a significant reduction in costs, but will also reduce any risk factors and the predictability of production. This will ultimately maximise the likelihood of a successful outcome for the mission.
Since the prototype has been successfully installed in Lockheed Martin’s Denver facilities, it can now be incorporated into the existing core structure complete with the navigation and antenna elements before test activities can be given the go ahead. At this point, the GNST will be reinstalled at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station where official path-finding activities will be launched.
The facilities for the program have been adapted from those that the company formerly used for the assembly of the Atlas rocket. They include some 40,000 square feet of assembly and testing areas that include thermal-vacuum and anechoic test chambers and a clean room high bay. The high bay has been developed to maximize efficiency through reducing both the distance between operations and space-vehicle lifts.
This all means that by 2014, all users will begin to reap the benefits of a program that has been carefully designed and moderated to achieve maximum results at a relatively low cost. The good news is that, thus far, the program is running according to schedule and has suffered no blips in its development. The official launch is therefore still on for the year 2014, an event which will, in the current technological climate, make all of our lives just that little bit easier.
Sara Parker is a Freelance and Staff writer who writes informative & creative articles on Television and Technology. Her expertises are in writing articles related to Satellite TV providers, Satellite TV deals, Satellite Connections, etc.