L3Harris Technologies to Develop Navigation Payload Mission Data Units for GPS III Satellites

L3Harris Technologies has received contracts worth $137 million for four navigation payload Mission Data Units (MDU) for future GPS III Follow-on (GPS IIIF) satellites. Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for GPS III/IIIF, selected L3Harris in 2018 to design and build the first two fully-digital MDUs, the heart of the satellite’s navigation payload. The MDU generates more powerful GPS signals and assures clock operations for GPS users.

Ed Zoiss, President, Space and Airborne Systems, L3Harris, said that the digital MDU is flexible enough to adapt to advances in GPS technology and future changes in mission needs. The new MDU will also support a smooth transition for the U.S. Space Force’s GPS OCX ground control segment.

The U.S. Space Force expects the first GPS IIIF satellite, which builds on GPS III adding new capabilities and technology, to be available for launch in 2026. The GPS IIIF MDU will provide improved capabilities over L3Harris’ 70-percent-digital MDU on the first ten GPS III satellites. The first four GPS III satellites have successfully launched and are now operational in the GPS constellation.

L3Harris has provided navigation technology for every U.S. GPS satellite ever launched. This technology enables the reliable GPS signal that millions of people – including U.S. service members – and businesses depend on every day.

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