EAB Q&A: OCX is more than seven years behind schedule. What are the consequences?

March 27, 2024  - By

OCX is more than seven years behind schedule. What are the consequences?

Greg Turetzky Principal Engineer Intel

Greg Turetzky

It’s more consequential than most people realize. The first and most impactful consequence is the limitation of the GPS constellation to
32 satellites. There are more healthy satellites in the sky and, more importantly, Block III satellites sitting in the barn. These additional satellites and their modernized signals would improve navigation globally with improved accuracy and resilience. Additionally, without OCX the L5 signals are labeled ‘unhealthy’ and therefore the constellation is labeled ‘pre-operational.’ Without OCX, L5 cannot reach initial operational capability (IOC), which prevents certain market segments from being able to officially use them. GPS will remain in third place if the delay continues.

— Greg Turetzky

F. Michael Swiek

Michael Swiek

OCX seems more than seven years behind when you consider that we have been hearing about it as a concept and then a proposal for years before it became an actual program. In the Hope and Crosby movie, “The Road to Rio,” Jerry Colonna leads a cavalry charge to rescue the heroine across several brief scenes. He never arrives, and the heroine is saved by other means. Colonna then proclaims, ‘Well, we didn’t make it, but we sure added some excitement!’ While waiting for the heroic arrival of OCX, might the evolution of technology, and regular updates to the current system, already provide some of the improvements promised by OCX? The OCS is already upgraded to accommodate Contingency Operations for GPS III satellites, M-Code early use and incorporated cyber security protections. Is it, maybe, time to just move beyond OCX and start anew with today’s context and assessment of future needs?

— Michael Swiek
GPS Alliance

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About the Author: Matteo Luccio

Matteo Luccio, GPS World’s Editor-in-Chief, possesses more than 20 years of experience as a writer and editor for GNSS and geospatial technology magazines. He began his career in the industry in 2000, serving as managing editor of GPS World and Galileo’s World, then as editor of Earth Observation Magazine and GIS Monitor. His technical articles have been published in more than 20 professional magazines, including Professional Surveyor Magazine, Apogeo Spatial and xyHt. Luccio holds a master’s degree in political science from MIT. He can be reached at mluccio@northcoastmedia.net or 541-543-0525.