Navigation system could begin to fail by 2010
The Guardian newspaper is reporting that experts are worried that the GPS system may be close to breakdown.
It reports that US government officials are concerned that the quality of the Global Positioning System (GPS) could begin to deteriorate as early as next year, resulting in regular blackouts and failures – which could have a disasterous impact on the world’s seafarers.
The satellites are overseen by the US Air Force, which has maintained the GPS network since the early 1990s. According to a study by the US government accountability office (GAO), mismanagement and a lack of investment means that some of the crucial GPS satellites could begin to fail as early as next year.
“It is uncertain whether the Air Force will be able to acquire new satellites in time to maintain current GPS service without interruption,” said the report, presented to Congress. “If not, some military operations and some civilian users could be adversely affected.”
The report says that Air Force officials have failed to execute the necessary steps to keep the system running smoothly. The first replacement satellite was due to launch at the beginning of 2007, but has been delayed several times and is now scheduled to go into orbit in November this year – almost three years late.
The failings of GPS could also play into the hands of other countries – including opening the door to Galileo, the European-funded attempt to rival America’s satellite navigation system, which is scheduled to start rolling out later next year.
Russia, India and China are also developing their own systems
Full Story at the Guardian