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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Battery Modification May Add 27 Cumulative Years Of Life To GPS Satellite Fleet

The GPS IIR/M satellites have been launched between 1997 and
2009.
As reported by NextGov: The Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center and a team of contractors have extended the operational life of 19 GPS satellites in orbit by re-configuring their battery chargers.

Lockheed Martin launched the GPS IIR/M satellites between 1997 and 2009, and the fleet accounts for more than half the 36 GPS birds on orbit with batteries, the “the primary life-limiting component when GPS IIR/IIR-M vehicles are past their design life,” SMC said.

Aerospace Corp., a federally funded research and development center with extensive GPS expertise,  Lockheed and SMC determined that reducing the charge rates during solstice season would add an average of one to two years of life per space vehicle.

Last week, the 2nd Space Operations Squadron, Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., completed the battery charge modification, which will extend the life of each of the GPS IIR/IIM satellites by one to two years, more than 27 years of cumulative life across fleet, SMC said.

The changes represent a savings of hundreds of millions of dollars for the US government.