On Course for GPS Upgrade

The Air Force expects to start broadcasting a new improved GPS civil navigation message about one year from now. According to a release Nov. 3, the service said it will upload new software to the GPS Block IIR-M satellites next fall, thereby enabling the first broadcast of a transitional civil navigation message on the already transmitting L2C civil signal. Today there are six Block IIR-M satellites, built by Lockheed Martin, on orbit. By that time, there will be eight on station in space, each capable of broadcasting the new CNAV message on L2C. The Boeing-built Block IIF satellites that will follow the IIR-Ms will also possess the built-in capability to broadcast the new message, the Air Force said. GPS advancements are being made on additional fronts. Just yesterday we reported that Lockheed has completed the integrated baseline review for the GPS Block III satellite, the first launch of which is anticipated in 2014.