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AF seeks reprogramming for orbiting GPS satellites

Jan. 20, 2014 - 03:45AM   |  
By MICHAEL PECK   |   Comments
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The U.S. Air Force is looking for a means of reprogramming the digital waveform generators on GPS spacecraft while in orbit.

The On-Orbit Reprogrammable Digital Waveform Generator (ORDWG) project, from the Air Force Research Laboratory's Space Vehicle Directorate, is aimed at adding flexibility to GPS satellites, whose waveforms are embedded in the mission data units in their waveform generators. "The government is seeking innovative techniques and approaches for the development of a more efficient, thermal and radiation tolerant (GPS orbit environment), space-qualifiable, reprogrammable DWG [digital waveform generator]," said AFRL. "The DWG must be applicable to both the existing GPS program of record and future enhancements (such as additional waveforms) to the constellation."

The solicitation follows an earlier small business innovation research solicitation for innovative designs for reprogrammable generators.

The waveform generator is a key component of the overall satellite design; "The waveform generator drives the design and size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C) of the GPS L-band navigation payload as well as the host spacecraft bus," AFRL noted.

The Air Force desires a solution that is Technology Readiness Level 5 or greater, which means qualifiable for space. AFRL was careful to note that it does not need a reprogrammable waveform generator that matches the form, fit and function of the current fixed generator, as long as the new device meets GPS standards.

Related Story: Air Force developing waveform generator for orbit

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