Upgrade for GPS Ground Control

The Air Force plans to transition on Jan. 11 to a new software iteration for the Global Positioning System ground control element at Schriever AFB, Colo. This new software build includes telemetry, tracking, and commanding functions for new GPS Block IIF satellites as well as robust security improvements, stated the Space and Missile Systems Center in a release Thursday. The first GPS IIF satellite is slated for placement into orbit in mid-2010. The security improvements include “over-the-air” distribution of encryption keys to properly equipped military users. SMC said extensive testing has taken place to ensure that the transition to the new software will have no impact to military and civil users. This effort “continues the Air Force’s commitment to the global community of GPS users,” wrote the center. Along those lines, GPS satellites are being repositioned to improve coverage in places like Afghanistan (see “Precision Shift” above).