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GPS Systems are on the fritz

I've recently found out some news that is a bit unsettling about our world wide GPS system. For those of you who don't know GPS is the Global Positioning System, consisting of several satelites that orbit the earth. These satelites beam down information on where they are located, and with a signal from at least four of these you have a solid position of where you are on the earth.

Well I've started to notice that my GPS is making me jump around, it's shown me in the middle of the Atlantic ocean a couple of times, and a few miles off of where I actually am, and sometimes a few hundred feet off. So I hooked up my older GPS that has worked fine in the past, and it was doing the same thing.

So I've done some research, and asked a few buddies that actually work with these satellites what is going on.

It turns out that our GPS system is in dire need of help. We have actually been losing satellites, and not too long ago another one dropped off. Which explains the sudden behavior I have seen. The replacement schedule is far behind, and the launch schedule for the next generation of satellites is behind as well. It is my understanding that the delays are caused by a lack of funding.

Now supposedly the funding for these satellites is partly funded by the government, but there is also a "tax" built into the cost of every GPS unit you purchase to help pay for it as well.

So I don't know about you, but I've seen more and more people owning GPS systems, and more cars having them as a default option. So if all of the information I received is accurate. Then should'nt they have a ton of money to get the system back up and running correctly? In addition I've seen a few stories on satellite collisions, which acording to my sources should basically never happen due to all the maintenance and planning of the orbit of each satellite. So does the increase of these collisions and decrease in GPS performance mean that our space program is starting to crumble?

Last Updated: 06/12/2009 10:37 AM

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