Exelis Geospatial Systems of Rochester, N.Y., has completed and tested two critical components of the navigation payload that has delayed the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation GPS 3 system, the company said in a March 18 press release. 

Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Denver is under contract to build eight GPS 3 satellites, the first of which is slated to launch in 2016. The satellites are expected to be more accurate and reliable than previous generations of GPS craft. 

Exelis, which has supplied the navigation payload for all previous generations of GPS satellites, has struggled with the GPS 3 payload.

Exelis spokeswoman Jane Khodos said the company has successfully tested six transmitters that will carry the GPS signal from space to Earth and installed three rubidium atomic frequency standard clocks, which provide accuracy for the GPS 3 international time transfer and navigation services.

“Testing validated the transmitters’ performance for the first GPS III space vehicle or SV 1 and will be replicated for consecutive space vehicles,” Mark Pisani, vice president and general manager of positioning, navigation and timing business area for Exelis Geospatial Systems, said in the release. “Staying true to our legacy, we are committed to delivering a payload that works and contributes to moving the overall GPS modernization effort forward.”