Got a Handle on GPS

Space and Missile Systems Center officials say they have indeed discovered the problem and a fix for the just launched GPS IIR satellite that should enable it to join the constellation this fall. Col. Dave Madden talked via telephone with reporters on Friday, relaying the latest information and assuring them that the GPS constellation is still healthy with no discernible degradation of service. Right now there are 30 operational satellites, six more than the military required 24 sats. The problem with GPS IIR-20, he said, does not extend to the next—and last in the series—GPS IIR slated to launch in August. Still some insist on bad news, like this Wall Street Journal report covering the teleconference that states there is another schedule slip for the next-generation GPS IIF, which has suffered schedule and cost problems. However, Air Force officials last month revealed the new timetable, which would have the first GPS IIF launch within the first half of Fiscal 2010. (Another telecon report by Spaceflight Now)