GPS III--Who Will Launch The Next Generation GPS?

Articles about GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, WAAS and other satellite navigation systems
jimh
Posts: 6032
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
Contact:

GPS III--Who Will Launch The Next Generation GPS?

Postby jimh » Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:48 am

While production and testing of the new GPS III series of satellites continues, the path to actually launching these satellites into orbit appears to have hit a roadblock. In an opinion-piece in a recent GPSWORLD.COM publication, industry expect Don Jewell examines the strange situation that has developed. The Air Force's long-time launch provider, United Launch Alliance (ULA), notified the government it could not respond to a request for proposal (RFP) from the government for launch services for GPS III, because of (what has been described by some as) unduly restrictive requirements placed by the government in RFP. With ULA declining to bid for the launch, the only other vendor seems to be SpaceX, which has never launched a GPS satellite into orbit.

The first GPS III-series satellite, SVN-1, is expected to be ready for launch in the second half of 2016. Will the government have any contractor in place to launch it?

For more details, read Mr. Jewell's column at

http://gpsworld.com/gps-programs-at-a-c ... y-forward/

Also read the related short announcement at

http://gpsworld.com/ula-wont-bid-on-gps ... -contract/

and this longer story at

http://spacenews.com/ula-declines-to-bi ... by-spacex/

In some comments to the above longer story, the cost of a GPS III-series satellite is mention as being around $225-million. The cost to the government of the launch services is estimated to be bid at around $80-million (from SpaceX) to perhaps $160-million (for ULA, which did not actually bid). An unsuccessful launch would result in the loss of the $225-million space vehicle. The excellent track record of ULA in providing these launches is contrasted against the inexperience of the less-expensive services of SpaceX. The outcome of the bidding should be revealed in March 2016.

jimh
Posts: 6032
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
Contact:

Re: GPS III--Who Will Launch The Next Generation GPS?

Postby jimh » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:14 am

To update this older article:

The first GPS III launch did not occur until December 2018, two years later than anticipated.

The cost of the GPS III satellites rose to about $550-million from the $225-million anticipated, that is, the cost doubled.

The winning bidder for launch services was Elon Musk's SpaceX company.

Details of the first launch of a GPS III satellite by SpaceX were given in a separate thread.