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5/22/2009
04:25 PM
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Air Force Sees Little Risk Of Losing GPS Accuracy

The issue arose earlier this month when the GAO, which is Congress' oversight operation, examined the GPS system.

The U.S. Air Force said there's little danger the GPS system it operates will fail, despite a report earlier this month by the Government Accountability Office suggesting the accuracy of the global position system could deteriorate in 2010.

"The GPS will not go down," said Col. Dave Buckman, who leads the GPS operation at the Peterson Air Force Space Command in Colorado. The GAO, however, did say this week that there could be a slight temporary deterioration in service as GPS satellites are shifted around while some are retired and replacements are added.

The issue arose earlier this month when the GAO, which is Congress' oversight operation, examined the GPS system. The GAO study stated, "It is uncertain whether the Air Force will be able to acquire new satellites in time to maintain current GPS services without interruption. If not, some military and some civilian users could be adversely affected."

That sent GPS aficionados to their phones and computers, asking the Air Force what it planned to do. While the Air Force didn't criticize the GAO report, it sought to reassure the civilian and military users of the system.

"The current GPS constellation has the most satellites and the greatest capability ever," according to an Air Force statement. "We are committed to maintaining at least our current level of service, while striving to improve service and capability through ongoing modernization efforts."

The Air Force said it's committed to maintaining a working GPS satellite constellation of at least 24 units, and it maintains a few extra in reserve. It launches new GPS satellites as they are needed.


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