Status of the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System

PSAD-78-37: Published: Apr 25, 1978. Publicly Released: Apr 25, 1978.

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The NAVSTAR Global Positioning System is a satellite-based radio navigation system which will consist of 24 satellites, ground control equipment, and user equipment for a variety of Department of Defense applications. All military services are participating in the program with the Air Force acting as management executive. Program costs are estimated at $3.7 billion, including $1.5 billion for the Global Positioning System, $1.7 billion related to user equipment, and $0.5 billion for replenishment satellites.

Delays due to technical problems in developing the satellite, control, and user equipment segments led to restructuring of the program in early 1977. In restructuring the program, the Air Force extended scheduled milestone dates, and since the restructuring, additional delays in satellite development increased the chance that Phase I completion might extend beyond the February 1979 timeframe. Since concept validation approval in December 1973, cost estimates have increased from $177.9 million to almost $400 million. The total program cost increased approximately $672 million more than originally estimated. This program cost estimate does not include costs for acquiring operational user equipment, replenishing satellites, space shuttle launches, and other related activities. The program's current phase could be delayed further. Any further slippage in satellite launches or a launch failure could lead to increased costs for the current phase and future program phases.

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