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Doubts about GPS Sat Reliability

 
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 3:19 pm    Post subject: Doubts about GPS Sat Reliability Reply with quote

http://www.itweek.co.uk/itweek/news/2142864/gps-users-plan-outages

Quote:
GPS users must plan for outages
Satellite woes mean that plan B is a must

Lem Bingley, IT Week 27 Sep 2005
ADVERTISEMENTFirms that rely on the US Global Positioning System (GPS) should ensure that they have a fallback plan, as one of the UK's top navigation experts has warned that the system may prove unreliable.

Speaking at a Cambridge University conference in September, Norman Bonnor, a retired RAF Air Commodore and president of the Royal Institute of Navigation, said the GPS signal is more fragile than many users might suppose. "Too many people don't understand its foibles and vulnerabilities," he added.

GPS is widely used in systems ranging from car navigation to emergency services co-ordination; and for time-keep- ing in utilities, finance and telecoms sectors.

The system relies on a network of satellites, which cannot be repaired once launched and have a limited lifespan. Sixteen of the present 28 satellites were built to last seven and a half years, but are now between eight and 14 years old. Twenty-four satellites are required for full coverage.

Bonnor said launches of new satellites are "only just keeping up" with current losses of around two satellites per year. But the failures could accelerate due to the number of satellites that have used up their redundant hardware. "Many are on their last legs," he explained.

The first of eight modernised satellites, built to last 10 years, was due to launch yesterday after a series of delays. A European alternative to GPS, called Galileo, is not expected to be complete until 2010.

Personally, I think it's nothing more than negative PR against the US-based system for positive spin on the EU-based one.
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Sad state of affairs.
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KC0GRN
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 22 Feb 2004

Posts: 1424

PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree. Sounds more like propaganda. I could take that same arguement and say it's not guaranteed you'll still be alive and kicking tomorrow, everyday you get older and less reliable.

Heh, just use the darn system, if we get longer lifespans out of the equipment, great! I don't see a lack of adding new satellites in the future.
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