Eye Candy

The big picture

Photo: Lockheed Martin Corp.

No, this is not the electronic ­version of Candy Land. It’s the latest ­element in the U.S. Global Positioning System, deployed on 2 January. Built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Air Force, the satellite ­payload has enhanced ­signal power and two ­military and two ­civilian signals. Ideally, it can ­pinpoint ­locations down to less than 1 meter. The tall candy-cane antennas handle UHF links to the ground; the squat Popsicle antennas, ­satellite-to-satel­lite UHF connections. The antenna cones are for the L band, a ­portion of the ­spectrum reserved mainly for military telemetry and geopositioning communications.

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