A Generational Issue:

The Air Force has to change the ground control segment for the Global Positioning System satellites (see above) because the current system simply can’t handle the various generations of GPS sats flying now and in the near future. Talking with reporters this week, Lt. Gen. Michael Hamel, head of Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., said: “The ground control segment for GPS actually has to be able to control satellites of many different generations; today we have GPS II-As, IIR satellites, [and] we’re bringing in a new generation of [Block] IIFs on orbit. It also has to be able to manage the navigation mission packages and performance seamlessly across all of those.” He likened the transition to the new computer system to “changing the engine on a car that’s heading down the freeway at 65 miles an hour.”