GPS Ground Control Gets Boost

Boeing said this week it is incorporating improved capabilities to the technology that it is supplying for the Air Force’s Operational Control Segment, the satellite ground-control system for GPS navigation satellites. In a release Nov. 17, the company said the enhanced technology will allow the OCS (also known as the Architecture Evolution Plan) to operate the GPS Block IIF satellites that it is building in addition to the current constellation of GPS satellites on orbit. The technology will also provide advanced encryption and data-protection capabilities. “This is the first step in enabling the advancements that the GPS IIF satellite brings to the GPS constellation,” said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. The Air Force completed the seamless transition from its 1970s-based mainframe technology to the OCS distributed computing architecture in September 2007. It will serve until the next-generation ground control system, dubbed OCX, comes online next decade. Boeing is building 12 GPS block IIF satellites for the Air Force. The first of them is expected to go into space next summer.