The woes experienced by builders of the wide-area augmentation system (WAAS) are nothing new to those who have followed the development of the satellite-navigation project over the last decade. In fact, it has become almost cliché to use woe and WAAS in the same sentence. So it’s not surprising to learn that a program one senator once referred to as a “$4 billion boondoggle” has lost luster over time. A recently released chronology of WAAS projections listed the changing operational expectations announced after successive top-level reviews since 1994. In that year, WAAS was predicted to provide Cat I service over 50 percent of the continental U.S. by 1997, with full coverage by 2000. Four years later, in 1998, the 50-percent Cat I forecast had slipped two years to 1999, with 100-percent coverage promised by last year. In 1999, 50-percent projections drifted to 2000, but full coverage wasn’t anticipated until 2007. By 2000, Cat I disappeared from the forecast altogether and was replaced by the prediction of 80-percent Lnav/Vnav by this year, with 100-percent coverage “to be determined.” Last year, 80-percent Lnav/Vnav slid a further 12 months to next year, although Cat I reappeared in the forecast, starting in 2007. The irony over the past several years is that WAAS has been demonstrated to work well–just not well enough.
WAAS Timeline Stretches Some More
- October 9, 2007, 6:26 AM