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Satellite Glitch Rekindles GPS Concerns

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the close-enough dept.

Space 101

coondoggie writes "News today that the Air Force is investigating signal problems with its latest Global Positioning System satellite is likely to rekindle the flames of a congressional report last month that said the current GPS coverage may not be so ubiquitous in the future. The Air Force stated that routine early orbit checkout procedures determined that the signals from the Lockheed-built GPS IIR-2 (M), which was launched in March, were inconsistent with the performance of other GPS IIR-M satellites. The Air Force said it has identified several parameters in the GPS IIR-20 (M)'s navigation message that can be corrected to bring the satellite into compliance with current GPS Performance Standards."

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Soloution? (0)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372125)

Soloution? Pour more money into NASA!

Re:Soloution? (5, Informative)

PeterBrett (780946) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372135)

Soloution? Pour more money into NASA!

Um, the GPS constellation belongs to the USAF.

Re:Soloution? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28375131)

Um, the GPS constellation belongs to the USAF.

Right, the extra money would obviously be so that NASA could battle the air force in space to take control of the GPS, at which point we'd dump even more money into NASA to fix the GPS.

Re:Soloution? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28372371)

Ah, another fine product of American public education, I see. GPS satellites are property of the US military, specifically the Air Force. NASA is a bloated behemoth and should be chopped up and sold off to the private sector. Anyone who thinks that NASA has any interest in making space tourism affordable for the average Joe is willfully ignorant.

Also, note to Obongo: you're not going to be able to reason with a man who insists on dressing up as a James Bond villain for work every day (Kim Jong Il). Perhaps you'd better lay off those Missile Defense Shield spending cuts for a little while. Japan and South Korea would certainly appreciate it, and helping out our allies certainly will get us farther than groveling at the feet of our enemies as you are so fond of.

Re:Soloution? (3, Interesting)

bberens (965711) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372777)

I think it's bad form to call NASA a bloated behemoth while giving the US military a pass. Most military research and development has been privatized and yet it doesn't seem to be particularly non-bloated.

Re:Soloution? (2, Informative)

RenderSeven (938535) | more than 5 years ago | (#28373809)

There are also a lot of military R&D programs that are lean, DARPA in particular. They are dubiously famous among contractors for pushing slim margins, compressing schedules, adding features, and generally insisting on maximizing their bang for their buck. Some of their programs may seem silly but many are based on improving military cost-effectiveness and ROI. The latter obviously dont get the same media coverage.

Re:Soloution? (2, Insightful)

SkyDude (919251) | more than 5 years ago | (#28375981)

.....and generally insisting on maximizing their bang for their buck.

One might think they're part of the dreaded private sector with that mindset.

Re:Soloution? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28373031)

What the hell does space tourism has to do with ANYTHING? It's a STUPID idea and will only be available for the super-rich, and will make the owners of their company super-rich.

Re:Soloution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28373943)

Just like telephones and TV's and internet!!

Re:Soloution? (2, Informative)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#28374643)

Air travel was once only for the rich as well. The wealthy typically underwrite new/cutting edge services/technologies/etc, eventually bringing down their cost.

Re:Soloution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28375569)

...And in fact, automobile travel was once only for the rich, and ocean travel was once only for the rich, and overland travel by carriage was once only for the rich. Invest in what the rich do first, because the great unwashed masses will eventually be doing it too.

Re:Soloution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28378001)

But all of those provide a useful service. To get where you're going faster. What does space travel offer except for novelty?

Re:Soloution? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#28376201)

super-rich? Virgin Galactic is targeting low 5 figures within a decade. Considering some people I work with spend nearly that much on cruises I would consider it well within many slashdotters reach for a once in a lifetime trip.

Re:Soloution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28373053)

Ahh, another fine product (victim?) of American private education, with the amazing ability to ignore faults in one area that he or she is fond of, or has his or her bets hedged in, while criticizing another area for the same thing.
http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/06/18/034230# [slashdot.org]
Preview
Kudos my deluded friend, kudos!

Could it be related to this ? ;-)) (5, Funny)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372169)

Could it be related to this ? ;-))

http://idle.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/06/12/1713237 [slashdot.org]

Hehe... ;-)

Followup on the story (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372177)

According to Air Force officials, the previous story was incorrect and the GPS are working properly. The person responsible for the false story has been apprehended and will face a military tribunal. These are not the droids you are looking for.

Move along.

Warning (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28372241)

Slashdot user BadAnalogyGuy is a scientologist.
If he contacts you offering a free personality test, firmly refuse him.

Re:Warning (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372273)

[citation needed]

Re:Followup on the story (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372337)

Pretty much. Of course, any current problems with GPS are likely to be fixed once GPS III [globalsecurity.org] is up and running. It will combine land-based positioners with satellites that have 500 times the transmitter power. Of course, that 'not so ubiquitous' factor is still there as GPS III will allow the U.S. military to shut down GPS to selected geographic areas at will to all but sanctioned receivers. ;)

Re:Followup on the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28372519)

"Of course, that 'not so ubiquitous' factor is still there as GPS III will allow the U.S. military to shut down GPS to selected geographic areas at will to all but sanctioned receivers. ;)"

Well, if you don't like it, you're free to build and deploy your own damned GPS system. Don't have hundreds of billions of dollars to spare? Don't have a national interest in precision, real-time mapping? Then shut the hell up.

Re:Followup on the story (2, Informative)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372827)

Well, if you don't like it, you're free to build and deploy your own damned GPS system. Don't have hundreds of billions of dollars to spare? Don't have a national interest in precision, real-time mapping? Then shut the hell up.

You called? [upi.com]

Re:Followup on the story (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28373109)

Yeah, cuz it's not like Galileo was purposefully designed to be easy to jam in the event of hostilities..... oh wait [absoluteastronomy.com] ......:

The US did not want to lose the ability to themselves use accurate [Global navigation satellite system] while denying enemies the use of accurate GNSS. Some US officials became especially concerned when Chinese interest in Galileo was reported.

This is what led to some US officials to go as far as threatening to potentially shoot down Galileo satellites in the event of a conflict. The EU for a long time held the stance that Galileo was a neutral technology, available to all countries, with no military able to only deny their opponents the use of highly accurate GNSS. For a time, EU officials were considerably unsympathetic towards the US' desire to maintain their ability to use accurate GNSS for military purposes while denying non-US forces access to equally accurate GNSS. However, this EU-US standoff was eventually resolved by the EU agreeing to make Galileo use a different frequency, and the US would be able to locally interfere with/block the Galileo signals at the new frequency without interfering with their "military" GPS signals. In theory however, the "military" GPS signals could also be interfered with/blocked by a suitably equipped adversary, but interfering with either Galileo's signals at the new frequency or "military" GPS signals doesn't automatically block the other.

Re:Followup on the story (2, Interesting)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28373295)

Yeah, cuz it's not like Galileo was purposefully designed to be easy to jam in the event of hostilities..... oh wait [absoluteastronomy.com] ......:

Any satnav system is going to be easy to jam. I used to know somebody who had a cottage industry manufacturing GPS jammers for the UK military; commercialised they would have been cheap enough to drop as chaff. The only issue with Galileo is that it and GPS can be jammed independently.

The US did not want to lose the ability to themselves use accurate [Global navigation satellite system] while denying enemies the use of accurate GNSS. Some US officials became especially concerned when Chinese interest in Galileo was reported.

This is what led to some US officials to go as far as threatening to potentially shoot down Galileo satellites in the event of a conflict.

Even before Galileo was announced -- and certainly before the Chinese became interested -- the US DoD announced that in a conflict any ground stations for such a system would be "valid military targets, even if on friendly soil". So that bit about setting up your own satnav system also needed to have the rider "and you are confident that you can take on the US military and win".

Re:Followup on the story (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#28374831)

Jamming GPS for fun and profit only works until the JDAM comes looking for your signal.

Re:Followup on the story (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28375035)

I don't think the UK MOD were particularly concerned about that.

Re:Followup on the story (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#28375583)

Really?

http://www.google.com/search?q=iraq+war+friendly+fire [google.com]

I have four brothers in the military (1 army, 1 marines, 1 navy, 1 army rangers). It happens more often then you'd think.

Re:Followup on the story (1)

alecwood (1235578) | more than 5 years ago | (#28387617)

Traditionally the UK military have had very little faith in GPS. Perhaps it's the selective availability controlled by a (sometimes hostile) foreign power which makes it look less than attractive from this side of the Atlantic. That's why they pushed ahead with development of ring-laser-gyro based inertial nav clusters even after GPS became a reality in the mid to late 80's.

Most modern systems such as Eurofighter Typhoon use the two devices in tandem, but since, if align settled before use, RLG IN systems can even track the wobble of the Earth's orbit, they should be adequate in the event it was felt useful to scatter a few thousand GPS jammers around a particular theatre.

The great advantage of GPS is not needing to nav align it before use, it's almost instantly available. Still, like all systems, errors in it's use can have disastrous consequences.

Re:Followup on the story (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372903)

I never said I was complaining about it (see the smiley at the end), but if I were, I'd have every right to since, as a U.S. citizen and tax payer, they are using my hard-earned tax dollars to build it.

I can fully understand why the military would use this approach, and I actually agree with the capability so long as it isn't abused. Unfortunately, I'm intimately familiar with my government. :(

Re:Followup on the story (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 5 years ago | (#28374871)

I was going to, but I couldn't find my wallet. See, it has this tracker in it, and ...

Re:Followup on the story (1)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372991)

All part of SKYNET's plan....

Re:Followup on the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28373057)

They can do this with the current GPS system already.

Re:Followup on the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28373821)

"Of course, that 'not so ubiquitous' factor is still there as GPS III will allow the U.S. military to shut down GPS to selected geographic areas at will to all but sanctioned receivers."

This functionality has always been built into GPS.

Re:Followup on the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28373293)

It's just a weather balloon!

What's The problem? (2, Insightful)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372185)

Really, what is the problem with this, at least they found out something was wrong before they accidentally blew something up. Most satellites are getting on a bit, so that there are tech issues shouldn't be worrying, and this is an endorsement of the ability of people to pick up the problem in the first place.

Re:What's The problem? (2, Interesting)

AlecC (512609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372501)

"... which was launched in March". That is not "getting on a bit" - it says that replacements are not fully-functioning copies of the originals, which is worrying.

Re:What's The problem? (3, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372725)

No, they are not exact replicas of the original constellation members, but they can be placed into a compatible mode to fit into the standard GPS constellation. What is happening in this story is simply that mode being callibrated. As more and more updated satellites are placed into orbit, the GPS system can be upgraded by turning on new features.

Re:What's The problem? (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 5 years ago | (#28380497)

As I recall GPS was developed to guide our ordinance and destroy theirs. Being able to find the local store is a secondary benefit. I also recall a time when every midshipman on every US Naval vessel was required to know how to use a sextant. Query: what happens if something knocks GPS out completely? One EMP can ruin your whole hemispheric constellation

Re:What's The problem? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28387155)

Inertial guidance takes over - and these days, with laser ring systems they are extremely accurate.

Re:What's The problem? (2, Informative)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372865)

"... which was launched in March". That is not "getting on a bit" - it says that replacements are not fully-functioning copies of the originals, which is worrying.

"The Air Force said it has identified several parameters in the GPS IIR-20 (M)'s navigation message that can be corrected to bring the satellite into compliance with current GPS Performance Standards"
In other words, a small workaround is needed, but the satellite will be just fine. If you only knew how often this happened in engineering.
"The degraded signals are accurate only to about 20 feet, versus about two feet for typical GPS signals, the article stated."
Sure, this should have been picked up in testing, but it's not like testing something like this is easy. The accuracy needed to detect something of this magnitude is pretty staggering.

Re:What's The problem? (3, Informative)

JohnnyComeLately (725958) | more than 5 years ago | (#28376533)

RichardAtWork nailed most of the response, but the OP never cites an article. With Google, I found an article here [survapedia.com] that explains it's L-5 that's causing the problems. L-5 is being turned on so they have first rights to the new frequency and to meet the deadline associated. GPS still works fine on L1 and L2. I have a feeling there might be some co-site interference that is the issue, although I'd think simple RF issues would have been caught in testing.

The satellites are not identical by any means. Rockwell built the originals and they were rock solid R&D birds. SVN3 was nearly 13 years old when I (and the crew I was on duty with) turned off the payload back in the early 90s. I used to joke with the Rockwell engineers that if requirements could be stopped, a Block 1 payload/chassis, with Block 2 electrical system would last decades (plural). Instead, we've got L1, L2, M-Code, L-5, NUDET territary sensors, and there's some boxes that only 3 letters now know about... Too much crap on something that's basically just transmitting, "HERE I AM!! (at this time)"

yet another justification (4, Insightful)

mikerubin (449692) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372217)

for me not using GPS, at least in day-today driving. After 8 years of field service I still use a road map and Google Maps. I just don't need another crutch (ie: calculator).
Yes, I know a map of the Atlantic won't help if I drop the compass overboard but that kind of detail isn't necessary if you are just trying to find dry land.

Re:yet another justification (2, Informative)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372841)

It's not that it doesn't work, it's just that if your GPS happens to be getting a time signal from that one particular satellite, the accuracy might be degraded. The article said +- 20 ft. That's not a big deal. It may be if you were using the GPS to land a plane though. A GPS only needs 3 time signals to triangulate, but can be more accurate if it can see more signals.

Re:yet another justification (2, Informative)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 5 years ago | (#28375777)

A GPS only needs 3 time signals to triangulate,

it can continue to track with 3 time signals (since it can rule out some incorrect solutions, based on a physical movement constraint), but can only triangulate with a minimum of 4 inputs. 3 points works in a 2d (IE draw circles on a paper) sense, GPS are calculating intersections of 3d Orbs. It is also possible for terrestrial GPS to assume your the solution located on the surface of earth. Technically a GPS only needs some 4th bit of info, since you are always moving in relation to the satellites, it is possible to use that movement to fine tune your position over time, but most handheld GPS's don't have that bit of calculus and require at least 4 satellites, then assume a maximum movement if you drop to 3.

Re:yet another justification (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 5 years ago | (#28375969)

This is what I love about slashdot. I may know a little about a subject, but there is always an expert that can expand my knowledge. Thanks!

Re:yet another justification (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 5 years ago | (#28376607)

triangulate

GPS uses trilateration, not triangulation.

Re:yet another justification (1)

woolpert (1442969) | more than 5 years ago | (#28376865)

Close, but no cigar:

All receivers should be assuming you are on the surface of the earth. There are only two possible solutions with a three bird fix, and one is either way off the surface of the earth and/or moving at an improbable rate of speed. You need the fourth to get a lock, though, because you need to solve four things, not only the ambiguity of a three sphere intersection, but also the correct time.

Once you have your receiver clock synched, though, you can run with three birds as long as you are happy with the accuracy provided by your internal clock. This is one of the ways Assisted GPS over the cellular network provides such fast locks: Not only can the relevant part of the almanac be sent to your phone over a higher bandwidth connection, but you have a synced clock to start and thus only need three sats.

DGPS via cellular is another big bonus, but not relevant here. ;)

Re:yet another justification (2, Informative)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 5 years ago | (#28378015)

A false solution way off the earth, but not all of them. If you imagine 2 spheres interacting where the satellites are both straight above you at very close distance, you end up with possible solutions being in one big elliptical arc, a good portion being away from the earth. When you add in a third source, they must intersect in at least 2 locations. But because the satellites are very close together your most likely at 4 intersection points, 2 will be in deep space, 2 will be in the earths sphere. The further apart the centers of the spheres the more circular the solution from 2 satellites, the less likely multiple solutions. So if you got good solutions from satellites on opposite ends of the earth, then 3 is good, you won't get that unless your really high though.

Of course that is all assuming a perfect measurement, add in a little uncertainty in the time dimension (all of your distances are going to be a slightly different moments in time, but within a few microSeconds) and with the closeness of the GPS satellites (relative to your location) your 4th source is a absolute requirement.

As you say, a little ground based info goes a long ways, partially because it is from such a different direction and distance, its accuracy can even be less.

Re:yet another justification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28378683)

Due to the geometry of the orbits, you're second false solution on the Earth is not going to be near your previous position, so it's not going to cause a problem for a receiver. That said, I don't trust a position fix with fewer than six satellites, mostly because the extras allow for error analysis.

Re:yet another justification (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 5 years ago | (#28379495)

Due to the geometry of the orbits, you're second false solution on the Earth is not going to be near your previous position,

exactly, as the 4th piece of required information, a previous position is acceptable.

Re:yet another justification (1)

azrider (918631) | more than 5 years ago | (#28378625)

All receivers should be assuming you are on the surface of the earth.

Ever been on an aircraft?

Re:yet another justification (1)

woolpert (1442969) | more than 5 years ago | (#28379427)

The distance an aircraft is above the surface of the ellipsoid is inconsequential.

Re:yet another justification (1)

woolpert (1442969) | more than 5 years ago | (#28379523)

*assuming anything but the absolute worst geometry.

Re:yet another justification (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 5 years ago | (#28379315)

It's not that it doesn't work, it's just that if your GPS happens to be getting a time signal from that one particular satellite, the accuracy might be degraded.

Not even, since there are integral status/reliability bits in the GPS constellation download. The "faulty" satellite is marked as unusable (just as it has been since it was launched in March, because it's in testing), and will be ignored by receivers. There are more than sufficient other satellites to cover the sky, so... no problem.

Re:yet another justification (1)

Attila the Bun (952109) | more than 5 years ago | (#28373087)

After 8 years of field service I still use a road map and Google Maps. I just don't need another crutch

I'll get off your lawn, shall I?

Re:yet another justification (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 5 years ago | (#28373285)

After 8 years of field service I still use a road map and Google Maps. I just don't need another crutch

I'll get off your lawn, shall I?

My GPS tells me that I'm on my own lawn!

Re:yet another justification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28373139)

Yeah, bust out the abacus because calculators are a waste of time. 8) Also, how is Google Maps not a crutch?

Re:yet another justification (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#28373927)

We're all impressed, grandpa. I bet you can fix the axle on an ox-cart faster than anybody, too.

Re:yet another justification (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28374173)

GPS is only a crutch if you don't also use your brain and don't value your time.

"Yes, I know a map of the Atlantic won't help if I drop the compass overboard but that kind of detail isn't necessary if you are just trying to find dry land."
hahahahahha..

Re:yet another justification (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 5 years ago | (#28374529)

This comment is mind-numbingly stupid.

Do you walk to work because you refuse to use the "crutch" of a car, bicycle, or mass transit? Do you grow your own food because you refuse to use the "crutch" of modern agricultural practices? Do you refuse medicine because you refuse to use the "crutch" of modern sterile techniques? Do you live in a cave because you refuse to use the "crutch" provided by the building trades?

GPS, calculators, google maps, the road map, and the car you're driving are all conveniences - assistive technologies designed to make hard work easy. They're not always perfect, but for everyday use, they're reliable unless you seriously have trouble with simple instructions like "Turn left in 200 meters."

If you want to perform a geographical survey every time you leave the house, be my guest, but let's not pretend you're anything but a reactionary luddite in doing so.

Re:yet another justification (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 5 years ago | (#28390853)

What the hell?!

Some people like to be self-reliant. It isn't ludditism. I know how to do simple math in my head. A lot of people don't. The girl at the store yesterday had to call a manager because I found a penny after she had typed in the amount I had given her. That is mind-numbingly stupid.

If you can't see the benefit of being able to do simple math quickly in your own head in a world full of calculators then you are a retard.

If you can't see the benefit of being able to navigate around town when your GPS is broken/stolen/etc. then you are a retard.

I use calculators, but I try not to be too dependent on them for simple things. I use GPS devices but I try to keep my ability to read maps and give/use directions fresh.

It is depressing to me how many people don't know anything about how to get around a town they have lived in for years. They say "I type it into my GPS" when you ask for rough ideas about where they are. They would have to call onstar sobbing if their GPS died.

Re:yet another justification (3, Informative)

joggle (594025) | more than 5 years ago | (#28375445)

Heck, I work for a GPS company and don't rely on GPS for navigation (we do high-precision applications, not navigation so I don't feel too hypocritical about it). However, this isn't because I don't trust GPS but because I prefer to have a good situational awareness of where I am and where I'm going.

I have tried using GPS navigation in rental cars for fun but usually their directions aren't as good as Google maps directions and have led me down a dead-end street once late at night.

The best compromise I've seen so far between maintaining a good idea of what's going on and using GPS is Google maps on the G1. You simply map out your directions before you start driving and then you have the choice of enabling the GPS to see where you are on the route or leaving it disabled if you like. Either way you can still zoom in on the map, check street view, etc without needing to spread out a huge map (or having to print out directions before you take off).

Note: I wouldn't use this story as a justification for not using GPS. The Air Force likes to maintain a 95% reliability of the constellation remaining fully operational each year (meaning that in the lower 48 that you will get a good position fix virtually all the time). They are worried that in the future they can only estimate an 80% chance of the system staying fully operational. The system would still work even if they don't have 31 satellites working. The minimum number of satellites needed in the constellation to provide good position fixes virtually all the time is 24 (4 good satellites in 6 orbital planes). They have additional satellites up there that are either at their end of life or backup satellites that are ready to take the position of another that becomes disabled. See this PDF if you want all the details: http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/GPS/geninfo/2008SPSPerformanceStandardFINAL.pdf [uscg.gov]

Re:yet another justification (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386783)

Yes, you're much better off being distracted by mapreading, or juggling Google Maps printouts (and trying to read their directions in 6-point fonts) than having the damn satnav read out clear instructions so you can keep your eyes on the road.
I prefer giving up a bit of sense of direction/location, even using a suboptimal route to the nightmare that is manual navigation without a second person in the car.
Also, the routes Google Maps generates aren't any better than those generated by a satnav.
Checking the route proposed by the satnav before you set off solves the sense of direction issue and allows you to correct the route if necessary (although in my experience the only time you're going to correct the route is if you know the area already).
In a car, you're struggling with information overload as it is; a satnav reduces that load significantly.

Yay recursion! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28372219)

GPS and now GPS Performance Standards. I love government acronyms.

Copyright Violation (2, Funny)

jimand (517224) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372231)

Doesn't "re-kindling" violate one of Amazon's copyrights?

Re:Copyright Violation (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 5 years ago | (#28373735)

Trademarks.

GPS will be just fine (4, Insightful)

DaveInAustin (549058) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372333)

A brand new GPS satellite has some bugs they are finding during testing, therefore GPS won't work as well in the future? Stop with the panic folks. Have you ever tested new code with new features and found some bugs? That's why you do testing.

Re:GPS will be just fine (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372441)

Have you ever tested new code with new features and found some bugs? That's why you do testing.

Can someone please explain this to Microsoft? In words they can understand? :-P

Re:GPS will be just fine (2, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372487)

Can someone please explain this to Microsoft? In words they can understand?

If you don't work for Microsoft, no explanation is necessary. If you do work for Microsoft, no explanation is possible.

(with apologies to whoever I paraphrased)

Re:GPS will be just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28372587)

Have you ever tested new code with new features and found some bugs? That's why you do testing.

Can someone please explain this to Microsoft? In words they can understand? :-P

What's to explain? The OP didn't include the word "fix", so what was in that post that Microsoft can't understand?

Re:GPS will be just fine (1)

Philip_the_physicist (1536015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372785)

I don't understand the problem here. Microsoft have far more Windows testers [eweek.com] than every other OS put together [w3schools.com] .

Mods: please read the links before moderating.

Re:GPS will be just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28373421)

I don't understand the problem here. Microsoft have far more Windows testers [eweek.com] than every other OS put together [w3schools.com] .

Mods: please read the links before moderating.

That's only because everyone daring to USE a Microsoft product is treated by Microsoft like a beta tester.

Re:GPS will be just fine (5, Informative)

CosmicRabbit (1505129) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372457)

Well, from TFA the problem seems to be the new L5 [wikipedia.org] frequency, which is "interfering with other signals from the satellite and reducing their accuracy"
This is a little more serious than just some glitches in the software. It's a basic design problem.

Re:GPS will be just fine (1)

kaiser423 (828989) | more than 5 years ago | (#28373539)

They'll probably just adjust some software filters, or modulation settings to move the interference out a little bit. It sounds like a big issue, but will probably just required some firmware changes to alter the power spectral density at some points. The L5 is 3dB more powerful for right now, so they could also just decrease the power a bit to possibly counter-act the interference. There are all types of reasons that I can think of as to why the two may be interfering some other than just a basic, un-fixable design problem. Give the engineers 3-4 months and if its still not fixed, then there's a problem that will be fixed in future satellites.

Re:GPS will be just fine (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28374201)

I find it hard to believe a new frequency would interfere with one of the existing ones.

It makes a lot more sense that a software bug would degrade existing L1/L2 signals, or additional codes being broadcast on the L1/L2 frequencies would impact legacy signals on those frequencies.

Probably some idiot journalist translated "satellite that adds L5 isn't performing as well on L1 and L2" to "L5 is causing problems on L1 and L2".

Re:GPS will be just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28377279)

It's also a test problem. It probably also would be a good idea not to scrap the LORAN-C network, just in case we have a big solar flare someday...

Re:GPS will be just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28372517)

I work at Microsoft, we just ship, ship and ship. What is this testing you speak of?

Re:GPS will be just fine (2, Funny)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372849)

I work at Microsoft, we just ship, ship and ship. What is this testing you speak of?

It's what you do to the installed software, to make sure the user has paid for it.

Re:GPS will be just fine (1, Funny)

TeXMaster (593524) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372529)

Have you ever tested new code with new features and found some bugs?

No, we only write perfect code.

Re:GPS will be just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28375337)

I don't know how you do things, but I generally test my code before sending it into space.

Re:GPS will be just fine (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28376001)

That's why you do testing

in production...

solution: (3, Funny)

space_hippy (625619) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372469)

Buy an atlas.

Re:solution: (1)

marauder079 (672626) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372915)

Actually they launched it on a Delta, thank you.

Re:solution: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28373621)

And a sextant.

Hehe, sex.

Re:solution: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28373993)

But I can't find my way to the gas station with my GPS

Re:solution: (1, Informative)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 5 years ago | (#28375297)

I'm a man, I know exactly where I'm going and how to get there. If I get lost, I don't need a GPS nor anyone else to get back on track. If I don't get back on track, at least I've discovered new lands and people which is all part of the journey. My moto: delivery in more than 30 minutes or its free.

yovu fail 1t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28372635)

And piss cocktail. Of V*BSD aaswipes NIGGER ASSOCIATION

Accurate Enough for Me (1)

PingPongBoy (303994) | more than 5 years ago | (#28372665)

My GPS is just being realistic when it tells me: "You're neither here nor there."

Re:Accurate Enough for Me (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 5 years ago | (#28382715)

My GPS is just being realistic when it tells me: "You're neither here nor there."

But it knows exactly how fast you're moving. (Rimshot!)

Not as big of a deal as they're making it look (4, Insightful)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 5 years ago | (#28373095)

This is a problem with one satellite. ONE. The problem is with a brand new generation of satellite [foxnews.com] created by Lockheed Martin. Boeing is also producing new-generation GPS satellites. It stands to reason that the first of any new production run might have a glitch or two that didn't show up in developmental testing. (I'm not defending their shoddy testing procedures, mind you.) The remaining next-generation satellites haven't been completed yet, so it's probably safe to assume that these glitches will be fixed before launch.

The sky is not falling, and GPS will still be around.

Re:Not as big of a deal as they're making it look (1)

charlesnw (843045) | more than 5 years ago | (#28379867)

How do you know if the sky is falling or not?

GPS is defective now. It's how we determine this sort of thing. :)

Hmmm... I think I've seen this one before... (1)

CookieOfFortune (955407) | more than 5 years ago | (#28373855)

Did the glitch lead to a British warship going to Chinese territorial waters and be attacked by a drilling torpedo and then the Chinese MIG's getting shot down by SAMs coming from a stealth ship?

What does GPS stand for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28375075)

GPS Performance Standards.

Sorry.

Hoping for Flood Insurance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28376349)

And next up is SVN 50 aka. Wetsat. Slated for launch in August 2009, this is the last of the II-R generation and then we are on to the way behind schedule II-F. From GPS World: SVN50 was actually one of the first Block IIR satellites, Block IIR-3, scheduled for launch in the spring of 1999. While on the launch pad in May of that year, Cape Canaveral experienced unusually heavy thunderstorms; the IIR-3 satellite's rain shield failed after a large amount of water seeped through leaks in the white room, where the satellite was stored on the launch pad.

GPS Satellites are the communications TimeSource (1)

dos4who (564592) | more than 5 years ago | (#28376619)

One thing to keep in mind... In North America, at least, the entire telephone/telecom/internet functionality relies on the GPS satellite system as its timing source. I work for a major North American phone/cellular/ISP service provider, and I can tell you that we have what's called a Bits Clock (which receives it's timing from a TimeSource box, which is fed via GPS signals) and without it, the entire communications system would begin to fail after about 30 days of no GPS service.

This timing provision is critical to the operation of all telecommunications.

Do Not Panic (1)

Zoxed (676559) | more than 5 years ago | (#28377831)

Do not worry left-side-of-the-pond-ers. Europe will step in [wikipedia.org] a 'save your asses' :-)

Re:Do Not Panic (1)

denelson83 (841254) | more than 5 years ago | (#28385745)

"Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, Galileo figaro, here we GO-OH-OH-OH!!!!!"

Well, if GPS is the king of sat-nav systems, then Galileo will certainly be the "Queen." ;-)

Re:Do Not Panic (1)

Thrakamazog (794533) | more than 5 years ago | (#28391237)

No quite the same as what we did for Europe [wikipedia.org] , but thanks, we'll take all the help we can get.
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