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Next-generation GPS satellite inches closer to space, countdown begins to 2014

December 16th, 2011        

Next-generation GPS satellite inches closer to space, countdown begins to 2014

Kvetching about your PND’s inability to get a proper lock could soon become a thing of the past, thanks in large part to a fresh breed of GPS satellites designed by the whiz-kids at Lockheed Martin. The program — which is estimated to eventually cost around $5.5 billion to complete — is set to hit its prototype phase by 2014, with a pathfinder being recently delivered to the same Colorado facility. The Block III prototype (more accurately known as the GPS III Non-Flight Satellite Testbed), won’t actually be hurtled into space, but the Air Force is slated to launch 32 of the final versions over the next few years. The aforementioned birds should improve power, reliability and accuracy, while also promising to be “harder for enemies to jam and easier for receivers to tune in, especially in urban canyons or under thick tree canopies.” Moreover, they’re expected to enable both denizens and military users to grab a position within three feet, compared to ten feet using today’s technology. In other news, they’re sure to cause LightSquared all sorts of new headaches.




SOURCE via Associated Press

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