GPS could fail in 2010

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GPS could fail in 2010

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    05-26-2009, 12:40 PM
GPS could fail in 2010

Sat-navs may stop working in 2010 as the US Air Force struggles to replace satellites in its aging Global Positioning System (GPS) - the satellite network responsible for providing location information to all civilian and military GPS devices.

According to a report by the US Goverment Accountability Office (GOA) it is "uncertain whether the Air Force will be able to acquire new satellites in time to maintain current GPS service without interruption".

The current situation has been caused by significant delays and technical problems launching new satellites to replace the old ones. The launch of the first new satellite now won't occur until November 2009 - almost three years late and an incredible $870m (around 560m) over budget.

"If the Air Force does not meet its schedule goals for development of GPS IIIA satellites, 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 you.S government commits to," said the GOA report. "Such a gap in capability could have wide-ranging impacts on all GPS users."

The main threats of GPS satellites failing are a reduction in positioning accuracy, making sat-navs in cars and emergency service vehicles less accurate, and an interruption in service, rendering sat-navs effectively useless.

Fortunately, there's some way to go for complete meltdown. The US government aims to provide a service with a 95 per cent probability of having a constellation of at least 24 GPS satellites. As there are currently 31 satellites, seven would have to fail before the level of service falls. The GOA is, therefore, recommending that all steps are taken to ensure that the current schedule for new satellites is maintained.

"GPS is, and remains, an excellent technology for all who use it. We are not concerned about this changing, and there is no reason to believe it will," said a TomTom spokesperson. "Quite the contrary, the U.S. Government has pledged full support for GPS since 2000. It is a good thing that organisations are appointed to monitor the development of GPS, and it is a good thing that the U.S. Government is looking ahead to ensure GPS continues to deliver the great quality it has to so many people."

GPS satellites were first launched in 1978 as part of an experiment, but it wasn't until 1995 that full operational capability was achieved for military use. In 1996 the system was opened to all civilians, although a feature called Selective Availability meant that civilian GPS devices were less accurate than military ones. In 2000, Selective Availability was turned off allowing full-precision civilian use in devices such as sat-navs.


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    05-26-2009, 02:04 PM
Hopefully if won't go kablooie when I'm lost
Think they will have a new sat up by 2010? Doubtful What a mess that's going to cause.
    05-30-2009, 05:22 AM
You think that's bad - it is possible that the Sun flare due in 2012 will fry anything and everything with a microchip - anyone fancy the stoneage again.
    05-30-2009, 06:06 AM
Holly molly lol... not microchipping any more pets then hey??
    06-01-2009, 05:34 AM
I wouldn't mind the 2012 one, just that... I like my computers too...

Sucks, but I could live with my horsey too he he :P
    06-04-2009, 02:01 PM
Super Moderator it's better to check your cupboards and reinstate your old paper maps and compasses...
    06-04-2009, 05:57 PM
You know that if GPS does fail, The military would have to resort for maps. BUT Most soldiers do not carry maps, and not all are trained for maps.
    06-05-2009, 09:40 PM
Originally Posted by xXxPony BoyxXx    
You know that if GPS does fail, The military would have to resort for maps. BUT Most soldiers do not carry maps, and not all are trained for maps.

This is incorrect. In the United States, most military are trained with maps and compasses. In fact, ALL military that I know are, but I won't say all military are trained that way, because I'm sure there are a few who aren't. GPS are used as well. However, terrain mapping is a very common practice.

My husband is in the U.S. Military and makes sure he has a compass on him at all times (most likely his watch) and when we travel we use strictly maps. Also when hiking or backpacking we carry a waterproof terrain map and compass and chart our movement. He learned how to do all of that (except reading a compass, I think everybody knows how) in the military.

For one month a group of them were dropped at a remote location in the mountains (near Lake Tahoe) and had a certain time frame to get back to 'base' by using a map and compass. That was only the FIRST of that type of training.
    06-08-2009, 10:21 PM
Every year there is a new doomsday...besides there is always still Google Earth :)
    06-08-2009, 10:23 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by Nutty Saddler    
You think that's bad - it is possible that the Sun flare due in 2012 will fry anything and everything with a microchip - anyone fancy the stoneage again.
The sun flare is going to be the biggest issue and boy are they predicting a whopper. Might be worth waiting for those gabillion dollar satellites until after 2012 so they don't all get fried.

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