Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s acquisition czar, has approved OCX, the Air Force’s next-generation GPS operational control system, to proceed into engineering and manufacturing development, announced service space officials. Kendall’s decision came on Oct. 11, according to the Oct. 26 release from the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, Calif. “The successful outcome of the decision is a direct result of the hard work and commitment of a government and industry team working collectively to ensure improved GPS services to users around the globe,” said Col. Bernie Gruber, GPS directorate head at Los Angeles. OCX will replace the current GPS ground control element and give satellite controllers the ability to manage future constellations of more sophisticated GPS positioning, navigation, and timing satellites. The Air Force will field the Raytheon-supplied system in blocks of capability. Block 0 is scheduled for availability in late Fiscal 2014 to support the launch of GPS III satellites, states the release. Block 1 will follow in early Fiscal 2016.
The White House announced its United States Space Priorities Framework in a document released concurrently with Vice President Kamala Harris' first National Space Council meeting. Listed among five U.S. priorities is to “defend its national security interests from the growing scope and scale of space and counterspace threats.”