HomeNewsArticle Display

Evolution of space: 2nd SOPS celebrates GPS Block III on-orbit test

Johnathon Caldwell, Lockheed Martin Space vice president of navigation systems, right, presents Lt. Col. Stephen Toth, 2nd Space Operations Squadron commander, with a GPS III model satellite as a token of appreciation for the 2nd SOPS critical mission in space at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, July 29, 2019. The 2nd SOPS operates the largest Department of Defense spacecraft constellation using the Master Control Station and a worldwide network of monitor stations and ground antennas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely)

Johnathon Caldwell, Lockheed Martin Space vice president of navigation systems, right, presents Lt. Col. Stephen Toth, 2nd Space Operations Squadron commander, with a GPS III model satellite as a token of appreciation for the 2nd SOPS critical mission in space at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., July 29, 2019. The 2nd SOPS operates the largest Department of Defense spacecraft constellation using the Master Control Station and a worldwide network of monitor stations and ground antennas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) --

Lockheed Martin presented the 2nd Space Operations Squadron with a GPS Block III model satellite to celebrate the successful on-orbit testing of the new GPS III satellite at Schriever Air Force Base, July 29.

Staff Sgt. Joseph Wood, 2nd SOPS mission chief, said the model is a physical representation of the modernization underway.

“The GPS III provides improved capabilities over the legacy vehicles,” he said. “The vehicle has some autonomous capability, such as the ability to perform on-board calculations and save itself when it senses an anomaly. It has increased power as well as three times the accuracy and eight times the anti-jam capability.”

Wood said 2nd SOPS has spent the last few months upgrading their hardware and software for the new GPS Block III, and over the next year, they have two major system updates and continuation training for their operators to ensure they are ready for the modernized system.

“GPS has become significantly integrated with technology globally for both armed services and civilians,” he said. “For the military there are a number of uses: force location, navigation, force employment, weapon guidance and communication network timing. On the civilian side, GPS has become integrated into almost every aspect of our life: aviation, search and rescue, banking, drilling and mining, civil navigation, agriculture and wildlife conservation.”

Wood said it is important to constantly evolve the United States’ GPS capability to maintain the gold standard in position, navigation and timing.

“The number of military requests continues to grow,” he said. “Our ability to support these requests gets difficult, so we evolve with the growth of space and cyber space to ensure any request received from deployed members will be completed with the best accuracy possible.”

The 2nd SOPS operates the largest Department of Defense spacecraft constellation using the Master Control Station and a worldwide network of monitor stations and ground antennas.

“It is imperative to stay ahead in the space domain; space is unique because it gives us a global perspective,” he said. “If we fall behind our adversaries, catching up will be difficult.”

Wood said the model was presented to celebrate the completion of on-orbit testing, ensuring the vehicle’s functions performed as designed.

“GPS is essential to more than four billion users across the world, and it’s free of charge,” he said “The 2nd Space Operations Squadron takes that responsibility seriously, our signal can save people’s lives.”

Capt. Kaoru Elliot, 2nd SOPS assistant director of operations, said without partnerships, performing their duties would be more difficult.

“Although our operators and project officers go through extensive training to command and control and manage the satellites and control system, the 2nd SOPS on its own cannot execute its mission,” he said. “Our partners provide the expertise and continuity necessary to ensure the constellation continues to provide the best positioning, navigation and timing service to the world. The times of operating in a vacuum have passed; as warfighters, it is critical that we take advantage of joint, coalition and commercial expertise to provide the best service possible.”

Elliott said it is important to stay at the forefront of the space mission.

“Space is a contested realm,” he said. “The United States has been at the forefront of space activity; however, complacency is a dangerous thing. With the exponential advancement in technology and the pace at which private and foreign entities are able to get into the space domain, it remains critical as ever that we continue to look at innovative ways to stay ahead of the competition and provide our services to the civil and military users. GPS III allows us to do that by modernizing a widely used system to ensure we continue to lead the way.”

The 2nd SOPS works 24/7 to ensure people can use the numerous benefits of GPS, such as navigation and precision timing.

“GPS is critical to 14 out of 16 of the nation’s critical infrastructures,” he said. “It has been estimated that GPS has contributed over $1.4 trillion to the global economy from creation to 2017. With the introduction of the GPS III, the advanced capabilities onboard the satellite will ensure we continue to provide the best for our civilian users and bring new capabilities to warfighters to operate through the contested environment. The 2nd SOPS and GPS are the global gold standard for all Global Navigation Systems.”

Engage

Facebook Twitter
.@GenDaveGoldfein: "You are valued. We need you. Your family needs you. The Air Force needs you." https://t.co/jioda8dKvY
RT @SecAFOfficial: We thank Matt Donovan for 40+ yrs of dedication to the #USAF. His leadership will continue to be vital to taking care of…
RT @DeptofDefense: For three decades, Ara Shishmanian served his country in the @USAFReserve. He also serves in the classroom. Press ▶️ to…
RT @AETCommand: #BehindTheScenes - Command Chief Master Sergeant training course students at @HQAirUniversity learn about leadership, commu…
RT @thejointstaff: Watch today's change of responsibility ceremony, hosted by #GenMilley, live @ 10 a.m. EST on Twitter. @SEAC_Troxell wil…
RT @HQ_AFMC: 📽️We're back to the @Afresearchlab for Day 10 of #24DaysAFMC. This year they tested a state-of-the-art rocket #engine preburne…
RT @16AF_AFCYBER: The holiday season is a prime time for online thieves to take advantage of weaknesses in shoppers' devices to extract per…
RT @USAFCENT: ALWAYS READY | Members of the 823d Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron test their combat life-saving skills during a medical…
Nearly 10,000 participants from around the world took part in the 2019 Military World Games in Wuhan, China. And… https://t.co/CRYacyFtEJ
Ever heard of the rule of 0-0-1-3? No. Well it means to have zero alcohol if you're underage, zero drinks if you're… https://t.co/7bNRnhYuWS
RT @HQ_AFMC: #Readiness was on display by our @AFResearchLab teams during a live-virtual-constructive training simulation, enabling #Airmen
RT @AFWERX: We can't wait for 2020: The @USAirForce Advanced Manufacturing Olympics is slated for July 8-9 in Salt Lake City & will bring t…
RT @AirNatlGuard: “The Silver Flag training sites provide our Airmen with real-world scenarios to reinforce our Air Force Specialty Code sk…
RT @US_TRANSCOM: Watch a @usairforce KC-10A refuel, and be refueled during same mission in support of @CJTFOIR. #Togetherwdeliver #NKAWTG #…
RT @AETCommand: Transforming the way we learn with technology is one of our key priorities here in the First Command! Check out the photos…
RT @AirNatlGuard: This week, @ChiefNGB visited the @PRNationalGuard at Muñiz Air National Guard Base to meet with senior leaders and discus…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: YOU are the most important reason for our mission success. Take care of each other & preserve the connections & commun…