Wed, Aug 23, 2006
Soonest Launch Now May 2008
and late hardware deliveries are behind a significant delay in the
deployment of the US Air Force's next generation global positioning
system, Boeing announced Tuesday.
The problems encountered in the development of 12 GPS satellites
-- to be used for both military and civilian purposes -- will delay
launch of the first satellites in the $1.9 billiojn program by 16
months. The Chicago Tribune reports the first launch was set for
next January; the soonest it will now happen is May 2008.
In a statement to Reuters, the Air Force blamed the delays on
the complexity of the satellites' circuit design, the enormity of
the assembly and integration effort, and late delivery of some
components by Boeing subcontractors.
It did not disclose how much the delays are expected to add to
the cost of the program... but nearly everyone agrees, it won't be
cheap. The Air Force is now reviewing the fee structure of its
contract with the Chicago-based aerospace manufacturer.
For its part, Boeing says it is taking "aggressive steps" to
resolve the difficulties... pointing out such issues "were not
atypical for advanced spacecraft development projects."
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