What’s in store for the future of GPS? Check out GPS III

By:  |  Category: Blog Thursday, December 5th, 2019  |  No Comments

It’s easy to take our access to GPS for granted, it’s always there, at our fingertips whenever we need it. Long gone are the days of Thomas Guide and MapQuest, it’s easy, just GPS it.

Not that we need to know exactly how it works (so long as it does), but in case you were curious…

12,000 miles over our heads are 31 satellites with continuously broadcasted radio signals directed towards us. Run by the U.S Air Force, the American Global Positioning System is so much more than just navigation we can access on our phones.

The system also provides a timing standard to link up “ATMs, gas pumps, the New York Stock Exchange, the internet, your power grids – around the world” according to Brigadier General DeAnna Burt, who oversees GPS as the director of operations at Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.

The GPS system on our phones (our receivers) “will pick the four best satellites in view. You want one directly overhead and three on the horizon – that gives you the best position.”

What would happen if GPS just… stopped working? Probably utter chaos.

Is that even possible? Yes.

Dana Goward, president of the Resilient Navigation Timing Foundation (the group dedicated to protecting GPS) when asked if an enemy could take out the entire system said, “Oh, absolutely. And they wouldn’t necessarily have to attack the satellites. It’s much easier to attack the signals. GPS is so integrated into all of our systems that any significant disruption would be catastrophic, almost an existential threat.”

Originally developed for the U.S. military, the GPS network was used for battlefield coordination. It wasn’t anticipated to ever be utilized by civilians, yet here we are, unable to live without it.

If a GPS jammer the size of a suitcase could take out the signal for a major metropolitan area, how do we stop that from happening?

Jamming and cyber intrusion are the biggest threats against our GPS system. Luckily, at Lockheed Martin ‘the next generation of satellites, GPS III, are being built and deployed. “GPS III will be three times more accurate, and have eight times more jam resistance,”’.

Two of the newest GPS III satellites are already in space, each one taking 18 months to complete, and all are built by hand.

Tonya Ladwig at Lockheed says, “By 2034, our entire constellation of GPS satellites will be GPS III models, which are more secure against jamming and cyberattacks.”

If you need help with IT Managed Services give EnhancedTECH a call at 714-970-9330 or contact us at [email protected]

–Emmy Seigler

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/preparing-the-next-generation-of-gps/ar-BBXAK6s

Image Source: https://www.canva.com/design/DADsOuk-tR4/8jc7bAr5gr6312Mj1Ol_Jw/edit#

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