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Encapsulation Of The Latest GPS Space Vehicle, ‘Earhart’ Has Been Completed

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
Space Systems Command
January 13, 2023
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Encapsulation Of The Latest GPS Space Vehicle, ‘Earhart’ Has Been Completed

Space Systems Command’s (SSC) Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) III Space Vehicle 06 (SV06) completed encapsulation within the Falcon 9 payload fairing at Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Florida ahead of its scheduled January 18 launch.

The fairing acts as the protective barrier from the harsh transient environment such as subsonic shock and extreme temperatures experienced during launch. The fairing ensures that the highly sophisticated satellite is just as pristine upon arrival to orbit, as when assembled in the climate-controlled clean rooms of the factory.

“The encapsulation of SV06 marks a key step in SV06’s journey to launch and contributes to Space Systems Command’s overarching objective to create resilient GPS architecture that ensures that both civilian and military users have access to stable positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) services,” said Scott Thomas, Military Communications & PNT Directorate’s GPS Space Vehicles Acquisition Delta GPS III program manager. “SV06 will be the 18th satellite to broadcast the L5 signal, putting GPS one step closer in providing our users around the globe one of the most advanced signals in the world.”

Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime GPS III SV06 space vehicle contractor, and SpaceX is providing the launch services. The Falcon 9 is undergoing its final preparations in what will be its fifth GPS launch since SpaceX launched GPS III-2 in December 2018. Since that initial GPS launch, each Falcon 9 GPS III launch concluded with its own success story– the recovery of the booster for refurbishment and reuse.

SSC is the U.S. Space Force field command responsible for rapidly developing, acquiring, equipping, fielding, and sustaining lethal and resilient space capabilities. SSC mission capability areas include launch acquisition and operations, Military Communications & PNT, space sensing, battle management command, control and communications, and space domain awareness & combat power. SSC is headquartered at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, Calif.

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