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Software delays FAA's satellite navigation program
January 8, 1999
Web posted at: 12:06 p.m. EDT (1206 GMT)
by Colleen O'Hara
(IDG) -- The Federal Aviation Administration announced today it will delay by more
than a year the rollout of its major satellite-based navigation system.
Originally, the FAA planned to put into service Phase One of the Wide-Area Augmentation System (WAAS) in July. However, the agency has pushed the
commissioning off until September 2000 because engineers need more time to
develop a critical software safety package that monitors, corrects and verifies
the performance of the system.
WAAS, being developed by Raytheon Systems Co., will use a network of
ground stations to refine Global Positioning System signals so that the signals
are reliable enough for navigation across the country and for precision
approaches to airports.
The revised schedule came after the FAA realized this final and most complex
software module would be a much greater challenge to develop than originally
anticipated, said Steve Zaidman, associate administrator for Research and
Acquisition at the FAA.
The other major software modules have been completed, and all the
hardware systems for Phase One are in place. However, the correction and
verification system, which performs more than 20 monitoring, correction and
verification functions, including the validity of WAAS messages, is not
FAA administrator Jane Garvey said the agency is still committed to WAAS
because of the safety benefits it will provide and because it is central to the
FAA's overall efforts to modernize the National Airspace System.
Colleen O'Hara is a Senior Reporter for Federal Computer Week.