Boeing has concluded major ground tests that will help in the launch of the first global positioning system (GPS) IIF satellite in 2010.

The GPS IIF Space Vehicle 2 (SV-2) was built at the company’s El Segundo satellite unit and was tested from May to August at the Florida-based Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in preparation for the SV-1 launch.

The SV-2 finished a consolidated system test (CST), which is a group of one-time, system-level design validation and verification tests involving the ground-based control segment, space vehicle and user equipment.

GPS master control stations directed the space vehicle as they normally do when the satellite is in operational orbit.

Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems vice-president and general manager Craig Cooning said the tests showed that the space vehicle was compatible with the ground control segment, which emphasised the company’s ability to combine complex ground and space elements.

Boeing is currently installing the final hardware components on SV-1 and preparing it for its last cycle of environmental vacuum testing to validate the spacecraft’s capability for launch.

GPS IIF will provide double the navigational precision of heritage satellites, stronger signals for commercial aviation and search and rescue operations, and more resistance to jamming in hostile settings.

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