Precision Shift

US Strategic Command announced Thursday that it has initiated an effort with Air Force Space Command to improve the signal coverage provided by Global Positioning System navigation satellites to warfighters in Afghanistan. “Terrain in geographically challenging areas can degrade complete coverage of GPS signals,” wrote STRATCOM in its release. Accordingly, GPS satellites will be repositioned, essentially spreading out the constellation so that the number of GPS satellites in view from any single point on Earth will increase, potentially enhancing the accuracy of GPS receivers, said the command. The plan is expected to take about 24 months to fully implement. The new strategy takes advantage of the largest sized constellation in the history of GPS—more than 30 satellites on orbit today. It replaces the existing strategy of placing new satellites close to older ones as a means of mitigating loss of coverage if one satellite goes down.