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Air Force to Decommission 2 GPS Satellites

satelliteThe U.S. Air Force has started to dispose of two global positioning system satellites in an effort to reduce GPS constellation risks due to underperformance.

The 50th Space Wing said March 16 space operators from the 2nd and 19th Space Operations Squadrons are conducting disposal operations for satellite vehicle numbers 37 and 40.

The satellites have both reached at least double their design life of seven and a half years.

“We are always working to efficiently manage the constellation to ensure we continue to provide the most accurate signal possible to our worldwide users,” said Maj. Roland Rainey, 2nd Space Operations Squadron director of operations.

Rainey noted that the unit will decommission the satellites to ensure the health and safety of operational vehicles and their ability to deliver services to customers.

SVN 37 and SVN 40 — which were launched in 1993 and 1996, respectively — will be relocated to a disposal orbit at an estimated 1,000 kilometers above the operational GPS orbit, the report said.

50 SW added that the Defense Department‘s acquisition of four new satellites in January 2015 allowed the units to replace what it called the “least effective” satellites.

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