GPS Facility Opens for Production


Lockheed Martin has officially opened its new GPS III Processing Facility (GPF) specifically designed to reduce the cost of building each GPS III satellite. On Tuesday, February 21, the company hosted nearly 200 guests for the facility’s open house event, which included speeches from Colorado Congressmen Rep. Mike Coffman, Rep. Ed Perlmutter, as well as senior U.S. Air Force officials.

“The new GPS Processing Facility will create an unparalleled production line for satellites, allowing for extremely efficient GPS III spacecraft manufacturing,” said Mark Valerio, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company’s Surveillance and Navigation Systems line of business. “As the GPS III program transitions into production, we are focused on utilizing lean manufacturing principles and implementing affordability initiatives to ensure we deliver these critical satellites while being the best possible stewards of the government’s investment.”

The GPF, built in the company’s former rocket assembly building, has nearly 50,000 square feet of spacecraft assembly and test area, including a clean room high bay and dedicated thermal vacuum and anechoic test chambers.  The high bay was designed to flow with maximum efficiency by minimizing space vehicle lifts and distances between operations.  Like in aircraft and automobile production, each GPS III satellite will move through sequential work stations for various assembly and integration operations, culminating with environmental test procedures.

The GPS III program will affordably replace aging GPS satellites while improving capability to meet the evolving needs of military, commercial and civilian users worldwide. GPS III satellites will deliver better accuracy and improved anti-jamming power while enhancing the spacecraft’s design life and adding a new civil signal designed to be interoperable with international global navigation satellite systems.

For GPS III, Lockheed Martin is building on its proven record of delivering highly reliable GPS spacecraft. The fleet of Lockheed Martin-built GPS IIR and IIR-M satellites makes up the majority of the operational GPS constellation. The satellites have exceeded 150 cumulative operational years on-orbit with a reliability record of better than 99.9 percent. Lockheed Martin heritage also dates back to the production of the Oscar and Nova satellites, the programs that paved the way to the current GPS system.


The GPS III Processing Facility (GPF) includes an Anechoic Test Chamber, shown here, which is used to perform tests on each satellite to ensure all signals and interfaces work properly.


Colorado Congressmen Rep. Mike Coffman addresses more than 180 attendees at the GPS III Processing Facility open house event.


Colorado Congressmen Rep. Ed Perlmutter stands at the podium in front of a crowd of Lockheed Martin employees, U.S. Air Force officials and government dignitaries.


Mark Valerio, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company’s Surveillance and Navigation Systems line of business emphasizes the importance of the new GPS Processing Facility to the event’s crowd.