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.
The big picture
Photo: Lockheed Martin Corp.