April, May, and June are watershed months for space and PNT geeks every year. In April I was honored to attend the National Space Foundation sponsored 27th annual National Space Symposium held at the incomparable five-star Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and in May, just last week I attended the 10th annual GPS Partnership Council at SMC (Space and Missile Systems Center) in Los Angeles, California. Currently I am planning my strategy and greasing the chain on the mountain bike for the sixth annual Space and Cyberwarfare Symposium in the beautiful mountain village of Keystone, Colorado, which is followed later in June by the Joint Navigation Conference, also in Colorado Springs.

GPS-IIIA: OCX Updates and the Gap

Colonel Gruber provided us with an update on the GPS-IIIA program by Lockheed Martin, which is on track for the first GPS IIIA launch sometime in 2014, and an update on the Raytheon OCX program, or new GPS ground Command and Control system, due to be operational sometime in 2015. While Colonel Gruber is happy with the way both contracts are progressing, in my opinion we still have the famous “gap” that everyone goes out of their way to explain is not really a gap, but in new government speak as proclaimed by a pundit from the stage during the National Space Symposium, what we really have is “negative operational margin.”