2nd SOPS Recalls GPS IIA Satellite to Duty

For only the second time in a quarter century, Air Force officials intend to transition a decommissioned Global Positioning System satellite back to active status. Members of the 2nd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever AFB, Colo., noticed in late May that the clock on the GPS IIA vehicle, known as SVN-30, was starting to malfunction, prohibiting the satellite from maintaining the “gold standard of performance,” according to a release. Engineers from 2nd SOPS as well as their civilian counterparts at Boeing and Aerospace Corp. immediately began developing a plan to bring SVN-35 back in to service to replace the ailing satellite. SVN-35 was decommissioned from active service in 2009 to make room in the constellation for the eventual deployment of the latest GPS Block IIR vehicle; however, its navigational signal continued to function properly. “We keep on-orbit spares for exactly this purpose,” said Lt. Col. Jennifer Grant, 2nd SOPS commander. “The robustness of our current constellation and the recent completion of the Expandable 24 architecture provide us with the flexibility to perform replacements like this with minimal impact to global users.”