SpaceX Starlink satellites could provide U.S. military with an unjammable alternative to GPS navigation

Oct. 7, 2020
Researchers say a simple software upgrade to Starlink satellites to provide communications, position and navigation services similar to GPS.

HAWTHORNE, Calif. – SpaceX has launched more than 700 Starlink satellites, with thousands more to come online in the years ahead. Their prime mission is to provide high-speed internet virtually worldwide, extending it to many remote locations without reliable service. MIT Technology Review reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

7 Oct. 2020 -- Now, research funded by the U.S. Army has concluded that the growing mega-constellation could have a secondary purpose: doubling as a low-cost, accurate, and almost unjammable alternative to the Global Positioning System (GPS).

The new method would use existing Starlink satellites in low-Earth orbit (LEO) to provide near-global navigation services. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin claim to have devised a system that uses the same satellites, piggybacking on traditional GPS signals, to deliver location precision 10 times as good as GPS in a system much less prone to interference.

The problem with GPS is its signals are extremely weak by the time they reach Earth, and are overwhelmed easily by accidental interference or electronic warfare (EW) jamming. In China, mysterious GPS attacks have spoofed ships in fake locations, while GPS signals are jammed regularly in the Eastern Mediterranean.

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John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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