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​Raytheon has finished three preliminary launch exercises as it prepares to launch GPS III satellites, according to a company release. The exercises demonstrated capabilities needed to deploy the satellites during launch and checkout, the ability to switch contacts between multiple simulated Air Force Satellite Control Network ground sites during launch and early orbit, and the first acquisition of the space vehicle after launch, according to the release. “These events demonstrate the growing maturity and readiness of Raytheon’s ground system to support the launch of GPS III satellites,” said Matt Gilligan, vice president of Raytheon Navigation and Environmental Solutions. The Launch and Checkout system, LCS, “includes the cyber-hardened infrastructure for incorporating the remaining [Operational Control System] mission applications, and represents a significant risk reduction for the overall program,” he said. Raytheon is developing the next-generation operational control system, or GPS OCX, under a contract with the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center.