Air Force surveys industry to find companies able to upgrade GPS satellite waveform generators

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M., 13 Jan. 2014. U.S. Air Force navigation experts are reaching out to industry to find companies able to improve the performance and shrink the size of the digital waveform generator on Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites.

Officials of the Air Force, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., have issued a source-sought notice (BAA-RVKV-2014-0004) for the On-Orbit Reprogrammable Digital Waveform Generator (ORDWG) for the GPS Spacecraft Navigation Payload program.

Related: U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory seeks smaller GPS satellites

The initiative seeks not only to find companies able to build a new, improved, and smaller digital waveform generator for GPS satellites, but also to determine if the Air Force could solicit this kind of job from small businesses.

GPS waveform generators today are embedded in the mission data units (MDUs) of GPS satellites, and produce several codes that are broadcast from the satellites, Air Force officials say. GPS satellites broadcast signals that navigation receivers on the ground, at sea, and in the air use to determine their positions, speeds, and direction of travel using triangulation.

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The GPS satellite 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, Air Force officials say.

The Air Force would like to increase the performance, flexibility, and affordability of the GPS payload by designing an improved digital waveform generator (DWG). The goal is to develop a space-qualified DWG able to replace those in current GPS satellite navigation payloads.

Air Force officials are looking for companies able to design a more efficient, thermal- and radiation-tolerant reprogrammable DWG applicable to existing GPS satellites and to future enhancement involving additional waveforms to the orbiting GPS constellation.

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The basic architecture of reprogrammable digital waveform generator includes the reconfigurable processor, memory modules, power conversion and management, and monitoring and control. The focus of this effort will be on the waveform generation section.

The inputs to the digital waveform generator are the elements of the GPS navigation message, synthesized reference frequency, code epoch synchronization, and control signals. The output is a low-power signal at the L1 GPS navigation frequency modulated with the appropriate navigation signals. Available spacecraft bus voltages to the navigation payload should be considered in the range from 28 100 volts DC.

Companies interested should submit statements of capabilities (SOC) with information to indicate capacity and any other specific and pertinent information. Responses should include plans of strategy; time of development; cost estimates; premises and assumptions; risk assessments; alternate options; feedback and comments; and company profiles.

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Responses should be on paper and on CD ROM, and submitted by post no later than 14 Feb. 2013 to AFRL Det 8/RVKVI, ATTN: Ann Preece, 3550 Aberdeen Ave. SE Kirtland AFB NM 87116-5776.

Email technical questions to the Air Force's Misty Crown at Misty.Crown@us.af.mil or 1st Lt. Holly Bradley at Holly.Bradley@us.af.mil. Email contracting questions to Ann Preece at Ann.Preece@us.af.mil or Sarah Hammond at Sarah.Hammond@us.af.mil.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/USAF/AFMC/AFRLPLSVD/BAA-RVKV-2014-0004/listing.html.

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