Reminder: Leap Second This Weekend

June 29, 2012  - By

News courtesy of CANSPACE Listserv.

Likely none of us needs a reminder as the upcoming leap second has been all over the news outlets for the past few days. But just to provide the details again, read this article.

Presumably, all GPS receiver manufacturers have checked to make sure their receivers will handle the leap second properly. However, at least one late-model high-end receiver from a leading manufacturer is currently reporting incorrect advance leap second information in its data files.

The European Satellite Services Provider (ESSP), the EGNOS system operator and EGNOS safety-of-life service provider, announced in a service notice dated 22 May that there might be an interruption in service for a 72-hour period should the leap second not be managed correctly.

AGI, a company that develops commercial modeling and analysis software for the space, defense and intelligence communities, has warned: “The consequence of failing to accommodate this event is that orbit in-plane motion and corresponding Earth orientation will both become inaccurate by at least one second until the leap second is properly implemented. This will also affect estimating orbits using time sequences of observations spanning this leap second event. GEO satellites might be inaccurate to about 3 km and LEO satellites to about 8 km. How great the discrepancy will be depends on how long one waits to implement the leap second. The probable inaccuracies may be within the collision keep-out zones of many satellites, causing either false alarms or totally missed threat detections.”

And it has also been reported that some computer operating systemsmight hang due to improper handling of the leap second.

An article on the upcoming leap second for the popular press may be found here. And, in case you missed it, a recent Physics Today article on the leap second and its future can be found here.

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