GPS satellite SVN24 began moving into a new orbital slot today as scheduled. The U.S. Air Force Global Positioning Systems Wing and the 50th Space Wing on January 11 announced a reconfiguration of GPS constellation to 24+3 or “Expandable 24.”
Moving three existing GPS satellites to new orbit locations is expected to have a profound effect on GPS capabilities for all civil, commercial, and military users worldwide. The plan will significantly alter the current configuration, which consists of indeed 30 GPS satellites in MEO or medium earth orbit that are used globally. However, many of the additional satellites are currently flown in tandem, side by side, with considerably older satellites and effectively limit the constellation geometry to that of 24 satellites.
"We started implementation of the Expandable 24 today with a successful Delta-V of SVN24. The reposition time is 12 months," said Col. David T. Buckman, U.S. Air Force in a notification e-mail.
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