05.29.2009 12:45 PM
GPS Accuracy Could Deteriorate
Many new communications technologies depend on the precise timing and frequency control that’s easily obtained by using the GPS satellite network. That’s why I was concerned when I saw a report from the General Accounting Office (GAO) titled "Global Positioning System: Significant Challenges in Sustaining and Upgrading Widely Used Capabilities" that raised the possibility of losing some of the GPS constellation satellites.

It states that “it is uncertain whether the Air Force will be able to acquire new satellites in time to maintain current GPS service without interruption. If not, some military operations and some civilian users could be adversely affected.”

In an article "Air Force Sees Little Risk of Losing GPS Accuracy,"  on InformationWeek.com last week, Col. Dave Buckman, leader of GPS operations at the Peterson Air Force Space Command in Colorado said, “GPS will not go down.”

The issue is whether the Air Force Space Command will be able to acquire new satellites in time to replace existing satellites as they fail. The Air Force has issued a statement that says the present GPS constellation consists of the largest number of satellites it’s ever had and has the capability. It offers additional reassurance by stating that “we are committed to maintaining at least our current level of service, while striving to improve service and capability through ongoing modernization efforts."

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