The first satellite of a new, improved GPS system has been launched.
One of the biggest benefits to nonmilitary users is the addition of a second civilian signal, said Air Force Col. Allan Ballenger, who oversees the GPS Program Office.
"I think this, it's a pretty huge step," he said. "The military has been using two frequencies from day one of GPS. This will be first time that we are adding a second frequency for civilian users."
The second signal will provide more accuracy by compensating for ionic interference in the atmosphere. But civilians will not be able to reap all the benefits of the new system until more of the new satellites are in orbit, Ballenger said.