Some Perspective on GPS

Despite a less-than-optimistic Government Accountability Office report earlier this month on the Global Positioning System’s future, Air Force space officials have a bright outlook on the constellation of positioning, navigation, and timing satellites. “I think there was a tendency in the report to almost take too much from the past and apply that to what we are doing in the present and the future,” Col. David Buckman, Air Force Space Command’s PNT lead, told reporters during a telecon last week. Among their concerns, GAO officials stated that the GPS constellation could fall below the required number of on-orbit assets if there are delays to the “ambitious” schedule for the GPS Block IIIA satellite. But Col. Bernard Gruber, GPS Wing commander at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., said the Block III program remains ahead of schedule and the first Block IIIA satellite is on track for a 2014 launch. (GAO report)