GPS is of little use in deep space, so Pentagon searches for navigation sensor beyond reaches of GPS

April 24, 2020
The Quantum Space Sensor will be for operating in environments where GPS may be unavailable or for enhancing operations where GPS is available.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – While GPS has a host of applications on Earth — from enabling credit card transactions to weather forecasting — it is decidedly less useful off planet; GPS receiver just isn’t going to cut it in deep space. C4ISRnet reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

Date -- After all, GPS was designed to enable navigation around the Earth, not in deep space. Space vehicles operating beyond the reaches of GPS have to rely on other methods for determining their position, navigation, and timing, such as inertial measurements or even star tracking.

Those methods vary in reliability, so the Department of Defense is looking for a more accurate tool — namely, a quantum space sensor.

The Defense Innovation Unit in Cambridge, Mass. — the organization within the DOD charged with leveraging commercial technologies for military use — is seeking a compact, high-performance sensor that can use quantum technology to provide precise inertial measurements in deep space. The quantum sensor could also be used in non-space environments where GPS signals are degraded and denied.

Related: Army needs small satellite sensor payloads, precision navigation and timing (PNT), to support ground troops

Related: Researchers ask industry to develop 3D infrared sensors precise enough for unmanned vehicle navigation

Related: Navigation and guidance meets sensor fusion

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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