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GPS Satellites To Start Failing Next Year?

GPS Satellites To Start Failing Next Year?

If you rely on your satnav to take you places, you might want to stock up on maps, because the General Accounting Office (GAO) has issued a harsh warning that the satellites that makes global positioning possible could begin failing as early as next year, according to The Register.

In a new report, the GAO says:

"It is uncertain whether the Air Force will be able to acquire new satellites in time to maintain current GPS service without interruption."

That’s definitely not good news. At the heart of the matter is the failure of the USAF’s GPSIIF and GPSIIIA satellite programs. The former is running three years behind schedule (and $870 million over estimates), while the latter hasn’t begun yet.

So the GAO warns that "there will be an increased likelihood that in 2010, as old satellites begin to fail, the overall GPS constellation will fall below the number of satellites required to provide the level of GPS service that the U.S. government commits to."

It recommends that the Secretary of Defense "appoint a single authority to oversee the development of GPS, including space, ground control, and user equipment assets, to ensure these assets are synchronized and well executed, and potential disruptions are minimized."

But that’s not going to help next year…

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