08:09 GMT20 February 2020
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    The next round of US Air Force-owned Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, Block III, is now in production by Lockheed Martin, which is expected to launch the first of its 32 satellites in late 2017, the US Air Force reported on Thursday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Since 1989, when the GPS program’s second generation began, 62 satellites have been launched. As satellites degraded over the years, new ones have taken their place improving position accuracy to only five feet. The next GPS satellites aim to further narrow it to about two feet, the report said.

    "GPS satellites offer countless civilian and military uses. From getting cash out of an ATM or sharing a trip on social media to tracking combat troops or dropping precision bombs, the Air Force’s Navstar GPS constellation of 24 satellites is there," the official Air Force News Service said in a report.

    If the GPS system were fully disrupted, it could cost roughly $96 billion per year to users and manufacturers, according to a 2011 study by the NDP Consulting Group, a Washington, DC-based economic consulting firm.

    The US Air Force has announced the creation of a new team whose sole purpose is to protect American space assets — primarily against Russian and Chinese alleged "aggression."

    To help make US space infrastructure more robust, the Air Force is preparing to organize a new team at the 50th Space Wing at the Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado with 352 people across four squadrons, including orbit analysts, intelligence professionals, mission specialists and engineers.

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    satellites, United States
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