GPS BREAKDOWN SCARE
Friday May 22nd, 2009
It has emerged that government officials are concerned that the Global Positioning System could start to deteriorate as early as next year. This could result in regular blackouts and failures. The effect on seafarers the world over would be disastrous.
The US Air force has overseen the GPS network since the early 1990s and according to a study by the US government accountability office some of the vital GPS satellites are on the brink of breaking down. The reason, they claim, lies in mismanagement and lack of investment. The study also reports that Air force officials are to blame for failing to execute the necessary steps to keep the system running smoothly, with the first replacement satellite not ready to launch until November this year, almost three years late.
According to the report presented to Congress, 'It is uncertain whether the Air Force will be able to acquire new satellites in time to maintain current GPS service without interruption… If not, some military operations and some civilian users could be adversely affected.'
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