GPS System May Start Deteriorating Next Year

By  |  Friday, May 15, 2009 at 10:58 am

The GPS system is beginning to show its age, and like some of the elderly among us, may begin losing its way beginning in 2010. This is due to the aging of the satellies themselves, some of which have been in operation for close to 20 years.

According to the Government Accountability Office, the Air Force is beginning to fall behind in targets to replace aging equipment. Part of this has to do with the fact that some of these projects have not had decent oversight, while others have gone well over budget.

The next scheduled lauch of a GPS satellite is in November. This would be more than three years behind schedule, the GAO reports. According to its research, the probability of keeping all 24 satellites in the air drops below 95 percent next year, and down to 80 percent in the following two years. If these problems continue long term, the probability of a a fully-functional GPS system in 2017 is only 10 percent.

As these satellites fail, GPS will become less and less accurate as a result.

What may need to be looked at now is international cooperation. The EU is busy building Galileo, and Russia and China are also working on their own GPS system.

Of course, since GPS has a military use as well, the US Government may not be all too excited to let overseas systems in. However, if we can’t fix our own problems here, it may be the only viable option.


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3 Comments For This Post

  1. drew Says:

    I think this is almost a non-issue. I find it hard to believe that nothing will be done by 2017. I suspect you might see some more line items for GPS launches in the next few years. Galileo is not supposed to even be up and running until 2013, and I doubt the military will let things fester for four more years.

  2. BP Says:

    Earth to spell-checker, earth to spell-checker:


    not whatever it is you spelled…

  3. yogi Says:

    More and more, it seems that our military is being run by idiots. They are merely pushing paper with no grasp of the need to be technologically superior. What a bunch of loons!

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Air Force: No, GPS Will Not Fail | Technologizer Says:

    […] The Air Force has begun work to allay fears of GPS system failure following a GAO report last week that the system stands a risk of deteriorating starting in 2010. In a scheduled online forum over […]