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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Satellite Clocks Reset in Y2K Prelude




WASHINGTON -- The scant reported fallout from the weekend resetting of a popular navigation tool's clock bodes well for meeting the year 2000 computer challenge, government officials and industry experts have said.


The network of navigational satellites known as the Global Positioning Service, or GPS, sailed through a critical transition Saturday as its clock was reset at zero, a long-scheduled event with the potential to disrupt a wide range of military, business and consumer uses.


The U.S. Air Force said the Defense Department-owned and -operated system, 27 satellites in orbit about 17,700 kilometers above Earth, handled the rollback successfully.


Jack Gribben, spokesman for President Bill Clinton's council on year 2000 conversion, noted that the year 2000 problem, a coding glitch that threatens to boggle some computers, involved a somewhat similar "date-specific" hurdle.


"To the extent we see organizations meeting the GPS challenge, it bodes well for their ability to meet the Y2K challenge," he said. The GPS rollover, the first of its kind, was necessary because of the way its synchronized clocks started counting time on Jan. 6, 1980, with week "0000" when the system went into operation. At 0000 GMT Sunday, the clock was reset to zero f not unlike what happens when an odometer rolls over after hitting all nines. In Japan, Pioneer Electronic Corp, one of several car navigation system makers, said it was being flooded daily with thousands of complaints about their machines going haywire over a satellite glitch.


Pioneer, the manufacturer of about 80 percent of the problem machines in Japan, received more than 2,000 calls Sunday, the day the devices began to either not go on at all or to pick the wrong locations. U.S. manufacturers, fresh from checks with big customers such as ambulance fleet operators, said they were unaware of significant problems.