A government report which is worried about the future reliability of the Global Positioning System satellite network is "overly pessimistic," Air Force commanders claim.
The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said the latest GPS satellite was launched almost 3 1/2 years behind schedule, and further delays could leave the system with fewer than the 24 orbiting satellites it needs as older models wear out.
But Col. David Buckman of the Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., said the report's facts were correct, but drew pessimistic conclusions. Satellites currently in the design or construction phase are on schedule and the Air Force has 31 healthy, operational satellites in orbit.
If the numbers of satellites drop below 24 most users, including some military applications, wouldn't be affected.