Following recent media reports on the lack of investment in the USA’s Global Navigation Satellite System – GPS (Global Positioning System) and the potential failure of navigational receivers in recent years, time synchronisation specialists, Galleon Systems, would like to ensure all their customers that any failure of the GPS network will not affect current GPS NTP time servers.
Recent media reports following a study by the US government’s accountability office (GAO), that concluded mismanagement and a lack of investment meant some the current number of 31 operational satellites may fall to below 24 at times in 2011 and 2012 which would hamper its accuracy.
A spokesman for the UK’s National Physical Laboratory confirmed that timing information should be unaffected by any potential future satellite failure.
“There is estimated to be a 20% risk that in 2011-2012 the number of satellites in the GPS constellation could drop below 24 at times.
“If that were to happen, there could be a slight reduction in the position accuracy of GPS receivers at some periods, and in particular they might take longer to acquire a fix in some locations when first powered up. However, even then the effect would be a degradation of performance, rather than complete failure to operate.
“A GPS timing receiver is unlikely to be affected significantly since, once it has determined its position when turned on, every satellite it observes provides it with useful timing information. A small reduction in the number of satellites in view should not degrade its performance much.”