A government report says the navigation system will still be widely used if accuracy issues occur.
Wired PR News – According to a government report, the accuracy of the widely used Global Positioning System (GPS) may be in jeopardy in the next few years due to delays in satellite launches. As reported by the Associated Press (AP), however, the issue will not likely hinder its widespread use.
As noted by the AP, the GPS is a satellite system that was originally created for military use, but now is used by civilians for cell phones and traveling. Lt. Colonel Tim Lewallen, Deputy Director of GPS at Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado reportedly agrees with the Government Accountability Report’s claim of possible problems with accuracy, but says the possibility of that happening is very small. Lewallen is quoted in the report as stating, “There’s substantial spare capacity in the system. There are 30 working satellites in orbit, plus three older satellites that could be reactivated. There are also ways to extend the useful life of current satellites if some of them break down.”
According to the report, the Air Force goal is to have 24 satellites working at all times. This means there would be at least 4 in the sky above any point on earth. Per Enge, a Professor of Aeronautics and Director of the GPS Research Laboratory at Standford University is quoted by the AP as stating of his desire to see 30 maintained, “The GPS constellation is skinny compared to what it should be. The most important thing is that we keep funding GPS and don’t take it for granted.”
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