The NTS-3 satellite was manufactured by L3Harris under a 2018 contract.
WASHINGTON — L3Harris announced January 26 that it has delivered the Navigation Technical Satellite 3 (NTS-3) to the United States Air Force. Scheduled to be released in the second half of 2023.
NTS-3 is an Air Force Research Laboratory-funded experiment that broadcasts positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) signals from geostationary earth orbit. The goal is to demonstrate next generation PNT technology for the US military and provide an alternative to GPS.
The satellite is currently undergoing a series of tests at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico and will soon head to the Air Force base. Benefield Anechoic Facility Radio frequency testing at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
AFRL said in a January 26 news release that this will be the first radio frequency test of the new PNT signal demonstrated by NTS-3.
The 1,250-kilogram satellite was built by L3Harris under an $84 million contract awarded to AFRL in 2018.The Air Force plans to Launched on USSF-106 missionis predicted to be the first national security launch by the United Launch Alliance’s new Vulcan Centaur rocket.
AFRL and MITER Corp. have developed a reprogrammable software-defined receiver that allows users to receive both traditional GPS signals and new NTS-3 signals. Under development by Parsons ground system.
Once in orbit, the NTS-3 operates independently of GPS. AFRL says new signal technology and advanced waveforms will make it more difficult for adversaries to jam and spoof. The Air Force called it “VanguardA program that increases visibility and attention.
L3Harris built the NTS-3 on the Northrop Grumman ESPAStar commercial bus. If the experiment is successful, the Air Force may decide to shift some of his NTS-3 payloads and signal processing technology to GPS, to augment the GPS constellations deployed in mid-Earth orbit. You may also consider purchasing additional satellites for
The Air Force estimates that about 20 NTS-3 satellites will be required to provide global PNT coverage.