It is the policy of the United States to maintain U.S. leadership in the service, provision, and use of satellite navigation systems. The U.S. government has additional policy goals to meet growing demands by improving the performance of GPS services, and to remain competitive with international satellite navigation systems. Learn more
The GPS modernization program is an ongoing, multibillion-dollar effort to upgrade the GPS space and control segments with new features to improve GPS performance. These features include new civilian and military signals.
Learn about the new civil signals
Learn about the new GPS satellites
Learn about the control segment upgrades
In addition to the specific new features noted above, GPS modernization is introducing modern technologies throughout the space and control segments that will enhance overall performance. For example, legacy computers and communications systems are being replaced with a network-centric architecture, allowing more frequent and precise satellite commands that will improve accuracy for everyone.
The GPS modernization program involves a series of consecutive satellite acquisitions, including GPS IIR(M), GPS IIF, and GPS III. It also involves improvements to the GPS control segment, including the Architecture Evolution Plan (AEP) and the Next Generation Operational Control System (OCX). The schedule for the parallel space and control segment upgrades is shown below. The information on the schedule is correct as of May 2012.
- Space Segment
- Control Segment
You can select elements of the interactive chart above to learn more about them.
GPS modernization involves joint funding from the Departments of Defense and Transportation. For more information, visit the Program Funding page. Go there
Ending Selective Availability
The first step in GPS modernization took place in May 2000, when President Bill Clinton directed the Department of Defense to turn off the GPS Selective Availability (SA) feature.
SA was an intentional degradation of civilian GPS accuracy, implemented on a global basis through the GPS satellites. During the 1990s, civil GPS readings could be incorrect by as much as a football field (100 meters). On the day SA was deactivated, civil GPS accuracy improved tenfold, benefiting civil and commercial users worldwide.
In 2007, the government announced that the GPS III satellites will be built without the SA feature.