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GPS & International Competitors
We think the news below will be of interest to our readers.
The U.S. Air Force wants 22 new GPS satellites that are built to resist jamming and electronic interference. It would spend around $2 billion on the new satellites for the GPS 3 constellation in the next five years. The production of all 22 satellites is expected to be worth as much as $10 billion
“The GPS 3 that we are moving toward is more jam-resistant, and it is intended to be able to operate in a contested environment,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said.
The constellation of 31 GPS 2 satellites currently in orbit will remain operational until at least 2021. The Air Force has already ordered 10 GPS 3 satellites from Lockheed Martin. But, the Air Force has now decided it needs to quit buying up those GPS 3 satellites and go back to the drawing board.
Lockheed Martin will most likely bid for the contract to build the new jam-resistant satellites, but other contractors like Boeing and Northrop Grumman are expected to try as well. Development of the new satellites would take place in 2019.
Applied Technology Institute (ATICorses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering. We think the news below would be of interest to our readers.
NASA has selected Boeing and SpaceX to resume U.S. human spaceflight. The two companies are newly contracted to become NASA’s space taxis, flying American astronauts to and from the International Space Station, and eventually ending the county’s reliance on Russia for transport.
Since the shuttle program was retired [in 2011], NASA crew members have been hitching rides on Russian Soyuz spacecraft, at a cost of $70 million per seat. The agency typically purchases six seats per year.
NASA’s partnership with the companies is part of the Commercial Crew Program. The program is intended to help private companies develop spacecraft to carry astronauts into low Earth orbit by 2017.
Once built, the seven passenger shuttle capsules will be owned by the private companies, not NASA.
Both companies will design crafts and undergo safety testing before manned flights are booked. Once certified, each company will launched an estimated two to six missions.
Boeing is set to build three of its CST-100 — seven passenger — crafts at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. Space X will build its first passenger craft, since its existing SpaceX Dragon delivers only cargo to the space station currently. Space X Dragon became the first commercial spacecraft for cargo in 2012.
The contracts with NASA are worth $6.8 billion. Boeing has the larger share with $4.2 billion, and Space X receives $2.6 billion.