OCX Will Be Ready for First GPS III Launch in 2018

Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, told Congress Wednesday that OCX—the ground control system for the GPS III satellite constellation—is “going to be ready to support the first launch next year.” The program has a history of delays and cost overruns that prompted the Air Force to declare a Nunn-McCurdy Breach in July of 2016. Greaves told the Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee the launch and checkout portion of OCX “has remained on track” for the first GPS III satellite launch, scheduled for 2018. The system was moved to Schriever AFB, Colo., last month for testing. Still, in the same hearing, Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson warned that, “we aren’t out of the woods on OCX yet.” She said the program is still required to file quarterly reviews in order to give it “a very high level of visibility and oversight within the Air Force.” Gen. Jay Raymond, chief of Air Force Space Command, said the Air Force has “programmatically built off ramps to be able to go a different direction” if the current version of OCX continues to stall. While “the mission is too big to fail,” he said, “no program is too big to fail.”