Friday, June 26, 2009

New GPS satellites launching soon

Boeing Co. confirmed the launch of its new GPS satellites to be on schedule, following worries that the global navigation system could degrade or even fail. The timely replacement of aging GPS satellites was a major concern of the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) in a May report and testimony before U.S. House subcommittee.

Following the GAO report, officials at the U.S. Peterson Air Force Space Command sought to assure the public that the GPS system would not fail, but did say there was some potential risk of degradation in GPS performance.

Boeing said that it has shipped one satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida for tests considered key to the Air Force's deployment of a next-generation GPS system that would reduce the probability of system degradation.

The satellite that Boeing shipped is the second of 12 satellites called GPS IIF satellites, which will undergo ground tests that are part of the preparation for the first launch, and then will be returned to El Segundo, Calif., for further preparation for its own launch at a later date.


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