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Space Command Expert will discussed report on Twitter

pocketgpsworld.comFollowing our report last week on the state of the GPS Network and world-wide coverage in the press this week we have just discovered (a day too late sadly) that the report was discussed by U.S. Space Command on Twitter on Wednesday.

Col. Dave Buckman, AFSPC Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Command, fielded a question and answer session on the state of the GPS Constellation.

A novel and very current method of reaching a wide number of users indeed!

The Q & A Session re-affirmed the position that the network was fully operational and would remain so. Col Buckman did however agree that there was a potential risk of service degradation but that plans were in place to mitigate this and prevent loss of service.

The last launch, SVN-49 has suffered issues post launch and has not yet been signed off for active service and the next launch is now set for Aug. The total in orbit number is now 30, a surrprisingly low number given the need to maintain 24 active vehicles.

The system was designed so that each satellite would have hot spares co-located that could take over duty as older or out of operation vehicles were retired. Clearly with only 30 in orbit there are many that have no replacement available in space.

The unspoken suggestion here is that should one fail where a spare is not yet available, then service is going to be degraded but that adjustments in power and position of other vehicles will need to be made to reduce the affects on users.

There could be interesting times ahead, with a little luck we may never have an issue but it would only take the unforeseen loss of two active satellites for their to be a major loss of coverage someplace. Perhaps it is time Galileo got the funding it needs so that we have a fallback?
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