Photo Credit: SpaceX
Colorado can lay claim to the most powerful Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite system ever designed and built for the U.S. Air Force. The first satellite, GPS III SV01 (Space Vehicle 01) built by Lockheed Martin Space, Littleton, Colorado was successfully launched by SpaceX on December 23 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. SV01 will be the first GPS III satellite to replace older GPS II satellites in the current GPS constellation. GPS III satellites have three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities. GPS III satellites are also more powerful, incredibly resilient, incorporate an advanced civilian-user signal that provides three times more accuracy than previous GPS satellites and are designed to evolve and incorporate new technology as it develops. Additionally, GPS III spacecraft lifespan will extend up to 15 years, 25 percent longer than the newest GPS II satellites on-orbit today.
GPS has become a key component of our daily lives, from helping us navigate our cars to finding that store, business, or residence location. Businesses have adopted GPS to an unprecedented level such as time-stamping transactions providing a consistent and accurate way to maintain records and ensure their traceability. Major financial institutions use GPS to obtain precise time for setting internal clocks used to create financial transaction timestamps. Communication systems such as wireless telephone and data networks use GPS time to keep all of their base stations in perfect synchronization. Electrical power grids and financial networks all rely on precision timing for synchronization and operational efficiency.
This incredible and profound impact for more than four billion users worldwide to include military, commercial, and civil users with valuable positioning and timing signals has an immeasurable impact to our global economy and way of life. With the GPS III built by Lockheed Martin Space in Colorado the system operated and controlled by Air Force Space Command at Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs, it is not a stretch to say that Colorado propels a global economy.