SMC Public Affairs
/ Published March 28, 2020
The Space and Missile Systems Center achieved a major Global Positioning System milestone on March 27 with the Contingency Operations (COps) program and GPS III Space Vehicle (SV) 02 receiving U.S. Space Force’s Operational Acceptance approval.
COps is an upgrade to the current GPS Operational Control System to operationally command and control GPS III satellites. These satellites are the newest generation built by Lockheed Martin providing precise positioning, navigation and timing information with three times better accuracy, and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capability than previous generations of GPS satellites. The first GPS III satellite, SV01, was launched on Dec. 23, 2018 and achieved Operational Acceptance on Jan. 2, 2020. USSF made SV01 available for use by military and civilian users for critical missions worldwide on Jan. 13.
Operating in a trial period since October 2019, COps supports developmental testing of the GPS III ground and space capabilities. The trial period culminated in a fully mission capable rating from the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center’s Operational Utility Evaluation conducted on the new GPS III satellite and COps upgrade. This event successfully completed on Feb. 20. Subsequently, GPS Operational Control System and COps received the second GPS III satellite – SV02, nicknamed “Magellan” – which the Space and Missile Systems Center launched on Aug. 22, 2019.
“The COps and GPS III SV02 Operational Acceptance marks another major milestone for the GPS enterprise and presents a clear picture that the Department of Defense is moving to the future. Of all the programs that will be delivered this year, there are few that carry with it as significant an impact to the warfighter and civilian users as this program will. This is truly a remarkable leap forward for the GPS enterprise and the capability it provides, and I couldn’t be more proud of the team that came together to make it happen,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Toth, 2nd Space Operations Squadron commander.
The USSF’s Space and Missile Systems Center, located at the Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the center of excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.