GPS Constellation Expansion Complete

The 50th Space Wing at Schriever AFB, Colo., successfully moved the last of six Global Positioning System satellites to its new location Tuesday, completing a two-phase, 18-month expansion of the 30-satellite constellation. The wing undertook this initiative, known as “Expandable 24,” to provide the US military with a more robust GPS signal and a higher probability of signal acquisition when troops are operating in difficult terrain like the mountains of Afghanistan. Commercial and civil GPS users also will benefit. Repositioning of the satellites started in January 2010 when the 2nd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever began moving the first three satellites. Phase two began in August 2010. “From the planning phases in the fall of 2009 to its completion today, 2nd SOPS operators, engineers, analysts, and support personnel have done an incredible job in making the Expandable 24 GPS initiative a reality,” said Maj. Benjamin Barbour, the squadron’s assistant director of operations. (Schriever release)