GPS Satellites Could Break Down by 2010
Millions of U.S. consumers have come to depend on GPS technology for a variety of daily activities, like avoiding traffic jams, finding the shortest route to a vacation destination, or for just finding the nearest movie theatre. Hopefully, those GPS-addicts haven't cleaned the maps out their glove compartments just yet -- according to a U.S. government report obtained by U.K. newspaper The Guardian, the nation's satellites used for GPS may be failing and could even begin to malfunction by 2010.
The Air Force maintains the satellites -- which have been in operation for approximately 20 years -- but hasn't replaced any of them. The first replacement, scheduled to launch in 2007, has yet to be sent into orbit. It's surprising that the Air Force allowed the system to get so bad, considering that the military relies heavily on GPS for mapping, reconnaissance work, navigation, and targeting.
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According to The Guardian, the Air Force is spending $2 billion to bring the system up to date. Hopefully it'll be able to complete the upgrades relatively soon, as GPS is only increasing in provenance: we've seen it used to monitor violent criminals and locate lost outdoor enthusiasts. But, perhaps there is one upside to the deteriorating satellite system -- cartographers everywhere (all three of them) may have jobs again.
If the system does get updated by next year, let's hope it's a bit more accurate than it was for the poor folks in the gallery below, who were led astray their GPS devices. [From: The Guardian]
- Man Follows GPS...to the Edge of a Cliff
- GPS Leads Truck to Impassable Road for 5 Days
- GPS Sends Another Driver Onto Train Tracks of Doom
- Bust Driver Chooses GPS Over Gigantic Warning Sign, Plows Into Overpass