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AFSPC tweets on GPS

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Air Force Space Command hosted a tweet forum on the Global Positioning System from 2 to 3 p.m., May 20. 

Col. Dave Buckman, AFSPC command lead for Position, Navigation and Timing, responded to fellow tweeter's questions on GPS and clarified some points that came out of the recent Government Accountability Office's report on potential challenges the GPS system faces in the future. 

The session was the first time AFSPC has used their Twitter page,, for a scheduled two-way forum. The site launched in April.
Below is the transcript: 

1. Get the facts on GPS! Join us at 2 p.m. MST and hear from our expert! AFSpace hosts Colonel Buckman to answer your questions for all things GPS! 

2. #AFGPS AFSpace is live with our GPS experts. Anyone want to kick off the questions?  

3. JustinHerman@AFSpace #AFGPS: Is there any actual probability of the GPS systems going down in 2010, or is it just worst case scenario - like my commute? 

4. @JustinHerman: No, the GPS will not go down. GAO points out, there is potential risk associated with a degradation in GPS performance. 

5. OKCMark @AFSpace: Is it true that you just launched a satellite that doesn't work right? 

6. @OKCMark: SVN-49 launched in March is still in payload c/o. Received unusual payload performance data. T-shooting & making good progress. 

7. JustinHerman @AFSpace #AFGPS: If I may follow, what kind of upgrades at what $$ will be needed in order to maintain performance of the GPS system? 

8. @JustinHerman: We're committed to the modernization of GPS. We already have two satellite programs underway to update our fleet. Agree w/ GAO there's a potential risk, but GPS isn't falling out of the sky-- we have plans to mitigate risk and prevent a gap in coverage. 

9. TedDriver @AFSpace #AFGPS: What's the likelihood of user's noticing a difference in GPS accuracy? - which has been excellent so far... 

10. @TedDriver: Very unlikely. We're launching satellites (next in Aug); have proven procedures to optimize constellation to mitigate impacts. 

11. flukemol @AFSpace: If a major solar flare happens do you guys have a back up plan or backup GPS system ready? 

12. @flukemol: Since we fly in MEO, aren't as affected by solar as sats in GEO; been thru several solar maxs in past with stellar performance. 

13. TedDriver @AFSpace: Good to hear! Thanks for answering my questions. #AFGPS
14. Espen @AFSpace: Will the GAO report result in an acceleration of the acquisition and fielding of GPS Equipment? 

15. @Espen: Uncertain, but we are always looking for opportunities to accelerate the modernization of GPS & deliver capabilities to users sooner. 

16. JustinHerman @AFSpace #AFGPS: So basically, while there is a risk of reduced performance in the GPS fleet, we've pretty much got it covered? 

17. @JustinHerman: You have it exactly right! 

18. SRStran @AFSpace: Glad you're on top of it! 

19. @SRStran: Thanks, we take great pride in providing GPS performance that exceeds our requirements! 

20. SRStran @AFSpace: You're welcome. Like to think that the newly updated roads will be on my newly purchased GPS. 

21. zoephoto @AFSpace: Glad to hear the GPS satellite issue is under control, you should make an announcement so the media stop scaring people! :) 

22. @fenrisfox: We have 30+ satellites on orbit now. We'll launch another in Aug 09, and again early 10. Going below 24 won't happen 

23. LINDAinNC RT @AFSpace: Agree w/ GAO thr's a potential risk, but GPS isn't falling out of the sky-- we have plans 2 mitigate risk & prevent a gap... 

24. We are taking the last round of GPS questions for the next five minutes.... 

25. @lukeshepherd: We have the largest GPS constellation in history and active plans to mitigate any potential gap in coverage. 

26. @zoephoto: You are exactly right, the issue is under control . We are working hard to get out the word. 

27. @usmcpablo: The issue is not whether GPS will stop working. There's only a small risk we will not continue to exceed our performance standard 

28. @weisen: We definitely need to keep this in perspective . Since 1995, GPS has never failed to exceed performance standards. 

29. Thanks everyone...AFSpace is signing off the GPS discussion...for now.