Steady Goes It:

A transition that has been in the works for more than a year is about to take place, setting the stage for more efficient ground operations for the widely used Global Positioning System. Officials at Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., told reporters this week that next month they and their industry partners will transition the GPS ground segment to its new Architecture Evolution Plan—which calls for replacement of the 1970s-vintage computer mainframe. The process will take four to six days to complete, as they transfer control to AEP one satellite at a time. AEP will enable satellite operators at 50th Space Wing, Schriever AFB, Colo., to control up to 60 sats, almost double their current capability. SMC has worked with Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and The Aerospace Corporation since March 2006 to develop the transition process, which they’ve rehearsed three times. The entire venture should be transparent to GPS users. Each step, according to SMC, is reversible should the transition team encounter any problems.