Satellite Mission Payloads

The Heart of Satellite Functionality

General Dynamics mission payloads provide weather information to meteorologists, send new data about our solar system to scientists, deliver the global positioning information to help us arrive at new destinations and enable actionable intelligence that our U.S. government customers need to help secure the nation.

Reliable Payloads For Tomorrow's Missions

General Dynamics has been providing high reliability mission payloads to the U.S. government for almost five decades with zero on-orbit failures. As one of the nation’s thought leaders for digital space payloads, we are investing in critical new technologies to improve the performance, flexibility, reliability and affordability of our mission payloads. Our goal is to architect today’s mission payloads for tomorrow’s hard problems.

GPS Mission Payload 16 modules

Making Mission Payloads Smaller & More Affordable

General Dynamics has extensively invested in research and development to significantly reduce the Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) needs of a mission payload as well as improving the performance and reducing the cost of the mission payload over the life of the mission. Our engineers have worked to converge the functionality and capability from multiple, heavy boxes of electronics into a space-hardened semiconductor and software-based system. This technology not only reduces SWaP, but provides greater resiliency through responsive capabilities on board the satellite and enables post-launch flexibility to address new missions. By adding more capability via digital signal processing, software, and field-programmable gate arrays and other semiconductors, the payloads have become smaller, more affordable and reconfigurable to meet future emerging mission needs.


We are replacing boxes of analog electronic equipment the size of a microwave with high-performance digital technologies the size of a postage stamp.

Ann Rusher, General Dynamics Mission Systems

General Dynamics Satellite Mission Payloads Flexible Digital Architecture

Flexible Digital Architecture

Beyond the benefits of reduced SWaP, the migration to digital components allows land-based crew to reconfigure and reprogram the onboard software as the parameters of the mission change.

As threats on the ground and geopolitical events evolve, the ability to update and revise payload functionality post-launch is vital.

Our engineers also understand that space is a challenging domain for both man and machine. Ordinary commercial components would soon be destroyed by pressure, temperature and radiation if sent into space. General Dynamics mission payloads are intended to endure multi-year missions in these extremely inhospitable conditions.

GPS III Network Communications Element

The GPS Satellite constellation provides critical situational awareness and precision weapon guidance for the military and the turn-by-turn directions you use from your car every day. General Dynamics' Network Communications Element components provide the communications functions for the GPS III satellites, including the ground-to-space command and control channel, the space-to-space inter-satellite channel and the command and telemetry communications channels within each satellite.

Learn More About GPS III Satellites

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