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GPS could fail next year

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GPS could fail next year

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed May 20, 2009 5:43 pm

Information Week
The global positioning system could fail next year and repairs aren't moving quickly enough to prevent failure, according a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. It's unclear whether the U.S. Air Force will be able to acquire new satellites in time to prevent disruption in GPS service for military and civilian users, according to the report.

The GAO said that the Air Force has struggled in recent years to stay within cost and scheduling constraints while building GPS satellites. So far, one satellite program has incurred cost overruns of $870 million and the launch of its first satellite has been pushed back three years to November 2009.
...
The Air Force also has had problems synchronizing the next generation of GPS satellites with the ground control and user equipment, which hinders military GPS satellite capabilities, GAO concluded.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by The Preacher » Wed May 20, 2009 5:58 pm

So how will I find the nearest Starbucks?
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Jeremy » Wed May 20, 2009 8:08 pm

I feel somewhat responsible for this. Much like the guy who washes his car and thus makes it rain, I just plunked down $300 for a handheld GPS unit for geocaching.

I admit my folly and can only beg your forgiveness.

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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Kelric » Thu May 21, 2009 2:42 am

But it isn't 2012 yet....

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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by theohall » Thu May 21, 2009 7:38 am

The Air Force also has had problems synchronizing the next generation of GPS satellites with the ground control and user equipment, which hinders military GPS satellite capabilities, GAO concluded.
The above part isn't just the Air Force. It's the the Armed Forces, other than the Coast Guard, period. Navy is still using 20 year old receivers with no funding for development of receivers to take advantage of advances in technology. The Navy Air (NAVAIR) side wound up about 5 years ago adding a civilian system to many of their planes, but there isn't a way to make the new technology talk to the old technology already in the planes. (It wasn't until about 1 month ago that aircrew could use the civilian system as a primary gps source if the other - read really old - one failed). For my current job, this won't be a problem in about 2013 when the new model of the airframe I work on enters service, but from 2010 until then, who the heck knows.

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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Hrdina » Thu May 21, 2009 11:48 pm

I am a little concerned about this, but not overly so.

There are currently 31 on-orbit. Of those 31, 19 are the newer GPS IIR and IIRM vehicles. There is one more IIRM vehicle in the barn to be launched this year, bringing us to 20.

Allegedly they will be launching the first IIF vehicle in early 2010. If Boeing can finally manage to deliver a working vehicle or two, those will help greatly.

We only need 24 vehicles on-orbit to be at "full operating capability". Extra vehicles above that number can help give better location solutions (because of better geometry between the vehicles and receivers) but only 24 are truly required. If Boeing can somehow get 4 of their vehicles into orbit before enough of the older GPS II and IIA vehicles become inoperable, we will be able to maintain 24 vehicles on-orbit until GPS III becomes available.

GPS III vehicles will not be available until 2014 or so.


Some of the other problems mentioned in the article are that the military receivers tend to be very old (as theo pointed out) and don't take advantage of some of the newer features of the space vehicles. They've had problems with acquiring updated software for the ground station, but that contract is under bid now as well and will hopefully be awarded within the next few months.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Hispanicgamer » Fri May 22, 2009 7:08 pm

Looks like we're back to Thomas Guides for awhile! :D
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by DocDarm » Sun May 24, 2009 4:23 pm

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by msduncan » Sun May 24, 2009 6:17 pm

Let me assure you that this *can* happen, and will unless we get busy putting up birds.

Anyone heard of Globalstar? It's a satellite phone provider here in North America. Our company bought in big time to using their satellite phones. Over the last 2 years, the service has gone down to right around 50% because of satellites aging an failing. The constellation of satellites they had in orbit aged at twice the estimated rate (due to radiation and general harsh conditions in space). They are sending some up this fall, but will not be back to 100% coverage until late next year.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Hrdina » Mon May 25, 2009 9:25 pm

msduncan wrote:Let me assure you that this *can* happen, and will unless we get busy putting up birds.

Anyone heard of Globalstar? It's a satellite phone provider here in North America. Our company bought in big time to using their satellite phones. Over the last 2 years, the service has gone down to right around 50% because of satellites aging an failing. The constellation of satellites they had in orbit aged at twice the estimated rate (due to radiation and general harsh conditions in space). They are sending some up this fall, but will not be back to 100% coverage until late next year.
Oddly enough, part of the problem with GPS is that the vehicles have historically performed beyond their designed service life. There are several of them that are still in use which were launched in the early 1990s. I think this may have led the government to take a more relaxed approach toward constellation replenishment than may have been warranted.

Currently the issue isn't just launching the birds. The issue is that Boeing is having a huge amount of trouble building the IIF birds they've been working on since the late 1990s. I think they were supposed to launch in about the 2001 time frame, but not one has yet reached the pad.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Hrdina » Mon May 25, 2009 10:08 pm

BTW, here is a link to Boeing's launch schedule.

They expect to launch one IIF this year, then seven (yikes!) next year, followed by 3 in 2011 and the last one in 2012. That is a very aggressive (and probably unrealistic) schedule.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Grievous Angel » Tue May 26, 2009 11:01 am

Aw crap. Take away my TomTom and I'll spend the rest of my life driving around Atlanta trying to figure out which Peachtree Street is which.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Hrdina » Tue May 26, 2009 9:59 pm

Grievous Angel wrote:Aw crap. Take away my TomTom and I'll spend the rest of my life driving around Atlanta trying to figure out which Peachtree Street is which.
I don't think GPS can help with that, regardless of how many satellites we have. :lol:
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by LordMortis » Wed May 27, 2009 8:36 am

Though I've driven about a thousand miles
I can't find it still
But I think my honda knows which way to go
Tell the client I running late they know

Ground control to GPS:
Your circuit's dead, there's something wong.
Can you hear me my TomTom?
Can you hear me my TomTom?
Can you hear me my TomTom? Can you ...

Here am I driving round my in tin can, far away from home
Now I run on fumes and there's nothing I can do

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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Hrdina » Thu May 28, 2009 12:17 am

There have been a couple of interesting articles on this topic lately.

Here is one on Brad Parkinson's presentation to Congress.

http://sidt.gpsworld.com/gpssidt/Latest ... 901?ref=25" target="_blank

And one from today's GPS World that follows up on it (with a title that's only slightly biased):

http://sidt.gpsworld.com/gpssidt/Latest ... 165?ref=25" target="_blank
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by theohall » Thu May 28, 2009 9:32 am

LordMortis wrote:Though I've driven about a thousand miles
I can't find it still
But I think my honda knows which way to go
Tell the client I running late they know

Ground control to GPS:
Your circuit's dead, there's something wong.
Can you hear me my TomTom?
Can you hear me my TomTom?
Can you hear me my TomTom? Can you ...

Here am I driving round my in tin can, far away from home
Now I run on fumes and there's nothing I can do
Not too sadly, I have the music in my head.

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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by theohall » Thu May 28, 2009 9:43 am

Hrdina wrote:There have been a couple of interesting articles on this topic lately.

Here is one on Brad Parkinson's presentation to Congress.

http://sidt.gpsworld.com/gpssidt/Latest ... 901?ref=25" target="_blank

And one from today's GPS World that follows up on it (with a title that's only slightly biased):

http://sidt.gpsworld.com/gpssidt/Latest ... 165?ref=25" target="_blank
While the 2nd article has a biased headline, it does provide more detailed information and includes Parkinson's remedy.

I love Parkinson's idea of the 44-month window as long as it's applied to the IIIA satellites. The system worked before and it should work again and if implemented by 2010 solves the issue of the 2015-2016 failure mentioned in the 2nd article.

If Boeing does get the IIFs up - which hinges on the launch coming up - there shouldn't be any issues until the IIIAs have to take over.

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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Isgrimnur » Fri May 28, 2010 11:42 am

The first new satellite is launched.
The new global positioning system (GPS) satellite, called GPS 2F-1, blasted off atop an unmanned Delta 4 rocket at 11 p.m. EDT (0300 Friday GMT) from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
...
It is the first of a planned fleet of 12 new satellites to provide around-the-clock navigation ultra-precise navigation and timing services for military and civilian.

"These next-generation satellites provide improved accuracy through advanced atomic clocks; a more jam-resistant military signal and a longer design life than earlier GPS satellites; and a new civil signal that benefits aviation safety and search-and-rescue efforts," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager for Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems, which built the new satellite.
...
The new GPS 2F-1 is a solar-powered satellite designed for a 12-year mission. It has twice the signal accuracy of previous navigation satellites and is equipped with a new signal capability for more robust by civilian and commercial aviation applications, Boeing officials said. The satellite uses the U.S. military's "M-code" and variable power to increase its resistance against jamming during warfare.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by The Meal » Fri May 28, 2010 11:49 am

Shouldn't significantly change the 20-foot resolution of the current system, but by the time the next dozen or so satellites are up (over the next decade) we should be down to the single-digits of feet resolution (i.e., can tell which lane an automobile is in).

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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Isgrimnur » Fri May 28, 2010 11:54 am

I doubt that they're going to let the civilians (and non-allied governments) to access that level of resolution. While that may have the capability, I'm sure that it will be reserved for military matters.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Alefroth » Fri May 28, 2010 12:00 pm

The Preacher wrote:So how will I find the nearest Starbucks?
Go outside.

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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Odin » Fri May 28, 2010 12:01 pm

theohall wrote:
The Air Force also has had problems synchronizing the next generation of GPS satellites with the ground control and user equipment, which hinders military GPS satellite capabilities, GAO concluded.
The above part isn't just the Air Force. It's the the Armed Forces, other than the Coast Guard, period. Navy is still using 20 year old receivers with no funding for development of receivers to take advantage of advances in technology. The Navy Air (NAVAIR) side wound up about 5 years ago adding a civilian system to many of their planes.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Enough » Fri May 28, 2010 12:38 pm

The Meal wrote:Shouldn't significantly change the 20-foot resolution of the current system, but by the time the next dozen or so satellites are up (over the next decade) we should be down to the single-digits of feet resolution (i.e., can tell which lane an automobile is in).

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Until that day we have waypoint averaging and WAAS (when WAAS works hah). My family bought me an Garmin Oregon 300 GPS for my 40th birthday and I am having a blast with it.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Enough » Fri May 28, 2010 12:41 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:I doubt that they're going to let the civilians (and non-allied governments) to access that level of resolution. While that may have the capability, I'm sure that it will be reserved for military matters.
Subfoot accuracy is already available for high end GPS. I've used Trimble's myself in the field, they are pretty huge but very accurate.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Isgrimnur » Fri May 28, 2010 12:46 pm

I'm apparently way out of date:
Initially, the highest quality signal was reserved for military use, and the signal available for civilian use intentionally degraded ("Selective Availability", SA). This changed with U.S. President Bill Clinton ordering Selective Availability (SA) turned off at midnight May 1, 2000, improving the precision of civilian GPS from 300 meters (about 1000 feet) to 20 meters (about 65 feet). The U.S. military by then had the ability to deny GPS service to potential adversaries on a regional basis.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Enough » Fri May 28, 2010 12:53 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:I'm apparently way out of date:
Initially, the highest quality signal was reserved for military use, and the signal available for civilian use intentionally degraded ("Selective Availability", SA). This changed with U.S. President Bill Clinton ordering Selective Availability (SA) turned off at midnight May 1, 2000, improving the precision of civilian GPS from 300 meters (about 1000 feet) to 20 meters (about 65 feet). The U.S. military by then had the ability to deny GPS service to potential adversaries on a regional basis.
Correct and the big fear was that after 911 they would turn SA back on.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by dbt1949 » Fri May 28, 2010 2:37 pm

They need to quickly find the city of Zinj.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Hrdina » Sun May 30, 2010 11:15 pm

Enough wrote:
Isgrimnur wrote:I'm apparently way out of date:
Initially, the highest quality signal was reserved for military use, and the signal available for civilian use intentionally degraded ("Selective Availability", SA). This changed with U.S. President Bill Clinton ordering Selective Availability (SA) turned off at midnight May 1, 2000, improving the precision of civilian GPS from 300 meters (about 1000 feet) to 20 meters (about 65 feet). The U.S. military by then had the ability to deny GPS service to potential adversaries on a regional basis.
Correct and the big fear was that after 911 they would turn SA back on.
Maybe a fear, but in reality it would really do no good (largely due to DGPS).

GPS III will not even have the SA capability built-in.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:27 am

First IIF satellite on station
Officials from the Air Space Command's Global Positioning Systems Wing at the Space and Missile Systems Center here have announced the first GPS IIF satellite arrived on station Aug. 1. This indicates the satellite is in its designated orbital position and ready for its final phase of on-orbit checkout and testing, to be completed before September. The satellite then will be cleared to serve navigation and timing users as part of the operational GPS constellation.

The next-generation GPS IIF satellites will provide improved accuracy through advanced atomic clocks, a longer design life than legacy GPS satellites and a new operational L5 civil signal that benefits civil aviation and other safety-of-life applications. It also will continue to deploy the modernized capabilities that began with the eight modernized GPS IIR satellites, including a more robust military signal.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Enough » Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:38 pm

Next-gen GPS III constellation is excellent for accuracy and Colorado's employment.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Hrdina » Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:15 pm

Enough wrote:Next-gen GPS III constellation is excellent for accuracy and Colorado's employment.
Colorado is doing the final assembly of the space vehicles (LM) as well as working on the next-gen control segment (Raytheon).

Engineering & production work for the SVs, though, is taking place around the country: LM (PA), ITT (NJ), GD (AZ).

Edit: Oh, and the IIF that Isgrimnur's post mentioned arriving on-station was just recently set healthy as well. This means that your GPS receivers can (finally) use it to calculate position. Look for PRN25 if your receiver provides a mode to see which SVs it is tracking.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Isgrimnur » Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:42 am

Second IIF satellite on station
GPS IIF-2, renamed SVN-63, launched on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV vehicle today at 2:41 a.m. Eastern time from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Controllers confirmed initial contact with the spacecraft at 6:14 a.m. Eastern time at a ground station on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. GPS signals from the spacecraft payload will be turned on for test purposes over the coming days.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:26 pm

The Europeans are progressing with their answer:
Galileo, the largest program ever launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) will enter its latest phase with the launch of two navigation satellites on 20 October. They will join two test satellites already in orbit, allowing the first tests of the Galileo network, a rival to the US Global Positioning System (GPS).
...
What is Galileo?
Galileo is the European satellite navigation system. The network, costing more than €5-billion (US$6.93-billion), will eventually consist of up to 27 operational satellites and three spares in three orbital planes. The test satellites being launched tomorrow will for the first time allow operators to test the system, including its ground stations.

How is Galileo different from existing systems, such as the GPS?
The short answer is that Galileo is not all that different from the GPS or the Russian system, GLONASS. But it does have a few tricks up its sleeve. Galileo will broadcast on a wider range of frequencies than other systems, and the first satellites will carry clocks based on hydrogen masers--devices that exploit an ultra-stable transition in hydrogen atoms to achieve accuracies up to five times better than the current GPS standard.
...
Will Galileo be able to do anything that the GPS can't?
For certain applications, Galileo does stand out. For example, scientists are interested in using navigation satellites to measure features of Earth's surface. By watching for the reflected satellite signal shining off water or land, researchers can make specific measurements of things such as sea level and soil moisture. Because Galileo operates over a wider bandwidth than the GPS, it will provide more accurate reflection measurements.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by RunningMn9 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:39 pm

I really don't like seeing my name in red every third post like that. :)
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:16 pm

:lol: Would you prefer a different color? Given that you've got 890 posts on me and Daehawk has 891 posts over you at the moment, you're likely to be in my sig for a while.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by MHS » Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:17 pm

Isgrimnur wrote::lol: Would you prefer a different color? Given that you've got 890 posts on me and Daehawk has 891 posts over you at the moment, you're likely to be in my sig for a while.
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by stessier » Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:27 am

MHS wrote:
Isgrimnur wrote::lol: Would you prefer a different color? Given that you've got 890 posts on me and Daehawk has 891 posts over you at the moment, you're likely to be in my sig for a while.
Austin fell pretty damn fast, you can take down RM9 quickly!
It helps when your target stops posting too. ;)
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by Isgrimnur » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:29 am

:) Austin was only about 200 above Mr Fed when he entered my crosshairs. RM9 has 4x that of a lead on me, and I fear for my life from the R&P 8. :ninja:
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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by LordMortis » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:33 am

RunningMn9 wrote:I really don't like seeing my name in red every third post like that. :)
Red was kind of nonchalant. Green is just overwhelming and blinding. Thanx a lot.

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Re: GPS could fail next year

Post by stessier » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:02 am

LordMortis wrote:
RunningMn9 wrote:I really don't like seeing my name in red every third post like that. :)
Red was kind of nonchalant. Green is just overwhelming and blinding. Thanx a lot.
I'm in Pro-Silver and my eyes slip right by the green. Red was in my face every time I saw one of his posts. I could see the opposite being the case for the Black and Gold theme.
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