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
Since Aug.1, 1948. @RealAFOSI has been #USAF's major investigative service, providing criminal investigations and… https://t.co/pKmUbamHWD
RT @AFSpace: Captain Rachael Preslar, a #TeamBuckley Panther, is the first active duty female to win Mrs. Colorado! She currently serves as…
RT @WrightPattAFB: “With the new system, we will have six times the processing power as Thor.” -- Air Force looking to improve weather data…
RT @ulalaunch: The countdown has begun for this morning's #DeltaIV rocket launch of #GPSIIISV02 for the @USAirForce and @AF_SMC. The launch…
RT @ulalaunch: Weather forecasters from @usairforce @45thspacewing say conditions are favorable to proceed with tower roll and for the rest…
RT @HQUSAFEPA: #APFKenya continued yesterday with tactics techniques and procedures on tactical combat casualty care and 5-line call for fi…
RT @StripesCarlos: Only 2 months in #Okinawa, @KadenaAirBase Airman helps save a 4-year-old boy from drowning at the beach... Read more of…
RT @AirForceMag: .@HQUSAFEPA this week kicked off its premier training and engagement event, the African Partnership Flight, at Laikipia AB…
RT @AFThunderbirds: **Update** Air Force Thunderbirds to Join Royal Air Force Red Arrows, F-35s & F-22 in Historic Aerial Parade over the…
RT @AF_Academy: The 68th Rescue Squadron spent time with USAFA cadets in the Ops Air Force program while jumping out of aircraft in #Arizon
RT @F22DemoTeam: BREAKING NEWS: We are excited to announce that we will be joining the @AFThunderbirds, @rafredarrows, and @thef35 Demo Tea…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Flew from RAAF Williamtown to Canberra by way of 2SQN Wedgetail w/ #AusAirForce. Absolutely impressed by the crew’s pr…
RT @cmsaf18: Great perspective on the Resiliency Tactical Pause: "We have to practice the pause" so we can actively listen when our #wingme
RT @AirForceMag: #AVGEEK ALERT: The @AFThunderbirds will join some of the finest flyers from the US and UK militaries—including the @USNavy
RT @starsandstripes: "Sesame Street" is offering resources to help the youngest members of military families navigate the changes that come…
RT @Space_Station: .@Astro_Luca and @Astro_Christina are assisting spacewalkers @AstroHague and @AstroDrewMorgan before the duo exits the s…
RT @DVIDSHub: Did you know the B-2 bomber recently had the 30th anniversary of its first flight? Read about an event hosted at @northropgr
RT @48FighterWing: Read about how the #MightyBlackPanthers are sharpening their air interoperability tactics in support of @RoyalAirForce e…
RT @AFSpace: Will you be watching as @usairforce @AstroHague and @USArmy @AstroDrewMorgan head out for their spacewalk today? This is Drew…
RT @F22DemoTeam: CHICAGO. What an incredible weekend. Thanks for all the support and for allowing us to send it over your beautiful skyline…