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Space Technology

Lockheed Martin Awarded GPS III 154

D Ninja writes "Yesterday, Lockheed Martin was awarded the $1.4 billion Air Force contract to build the next-generation global positioning satellite system. This occurred after a series of delays as the Air Force decided between Lockheed and the competing bidding contractor, Boeing Co. 'GPS III, will give new navigation warfare (NAVWAR) capabilities to shut off GPS service to a limited geographical location while providing GPS to US and allied forces. GPS III will offer significant improvements in navigation capabilities by improving interoperability and jam resistance. The procurement of the GPS III system is planned for multiple blocks, with the GPS IIIA portion currently underway. GPS IIIA includes all of the GPS IIF capability plus up to a ten-fold increase in signal power, a new civil signal compatible with the European Union's Galileo system, and a new spacecraft bus that will allow a growth path to future blocks.'"
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Lockheed Martin Awarded GPS III

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  • I thought that they were moving away from this. They're launching new satellites for the current system with this turned off.

    What's the word on this?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's something of a nuclear option. It's very hard to imagine any president actually authorizing this. I mean, think about it, you invade Iran or something and maybe you'd like to turn off their GPS. But nearby there are giant oil tankers being steered by GPS and airliners overhead (nearby) with GPS autopilots. Is it worth the risk of those crashing? I just don't see it happening in any situation short of a general world war.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16, 2008 @04:57PM (#23440590)
        Yes, because lord knows there was no way for ships to navigate before GPS came along....
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by JustOK ( 667959 )
          Always thought it was pretty obvious that Chris Columbus was using MapQuest since he ended up so far off course.
          • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

            The directions were right, he just clicked the "No Privateers" checkbox and it took him the long way.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Which, if I remember correctly, is why sailors in the US Navy still use a sextant to figure out their position. The newest example I could find in a quick search was this picture: http://www.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=41572 [navy.mil] The practice is probably done out of tradition, but hell... if I was on a ship and some knucklehead was able to knock out the electronics (hopefully not easy to do), then I wouldn't mind if someone aboard had the capability of telling the Captain where the hell to point the boat to
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by lostguru ( 987112 )
        Except international airlines don't rely on gps, a lot don't even use it, due to the risk of selective availability. Don't know about ships, but I'm pretty sure there are other ship navigation systems in place. It is a very probably thing for the US to do and we have done it before.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          There are still radio navigation systems such as LORAN available for ships. They aren't as accurate as GPS, but accuracy in this case means finding an airport, not finding one bolt on a chair in the airport office.

          Even with GPS and Galileo and Beidou, it's still good to learn pilotage, dead reckoning, and celestial navigation. Sailing without them is similar to not knowing how to make change without the computer telling you.
      • This is far from insightful of course. Civil aviation does use GPS but it is only a luxury, every pilot is trained on traditional IFR and a host of radio-based technologies, and every pilot also knows that when GPS disagrees with the other system you simply disregard the GPS. It is a handy tool, not a necessary one (obvious to anyone I would've thought, but you asked for it).
    • by jd ( 1658 )
      Dunno, but the ability to turn regions off and protection against jamming/blocking would seem contradictory. If the satellites are capable of directionally shutting down or encrypting, and if the Pentagon's secure network computers are prone to being attacked in cyberwarfare, then the easiest way to jam/block is at source. You don't need to know the encryption, the Pentagon computers can do all that for you, you need only know the command sequence itself. Less, if you know the Americans are going to use the
    • by WarJolt ( 990309 )
      The idea is that weapons systems guided by GPS are under US control as long as they are guided by US satellites.
      Yes GPS can be shut off. Your car GPS won't work for a little while. Look at the bright side...you're not blown up.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Yeff ( 1108747 )
        US weapons are guided by INS with GPS augumenting that. Turn of GPS and you've still got a pretty accurate INS system to rely on.
      • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @06:40PM (#23441464)
        I am a little more concerned with my car being driven off a cliff by an automated traffic control system because some asshat decides to invade some other asshat, and to hell with the civilians using the system.

        The insistence on a NAVWAR backdoor is rather stupid. In the last three wars in which it has been involved, the U.S. has pretty much had its rear kicked by enemies using what amounts to 1940s technology. The danger to US troops is not from WMDs, it's from IEDs made in peoples kitchens using easily obtained ordinance, generally with U.S. serial numbers on it.

        If they want to blow me up, they're going to do it by setting up a bomb that reacts to the RFID in my "Real ID" card, U.S. Passport, or the pressure sensors in my tires, all of which are government mandated, and all of which go where I go, and so are really useful for targeting me both generally ("look, and American!") or personally. Or they'll use my IMEI on my cell phone, which on differs in that I'm not required to carry it, but probably will anyway.

        If someone can build a missile that can get to me from where they are, then unless I am sitting in a bunker, a few hundred feet for going inertial or using airport beacons instead of GPS isn't going to matter much one way or another.

        -- Terry
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          If they want to blow me up, they're going to do it by setting up a bomb that reacts to the RFID in my "Real ID" card,

          It doesn't harm to repeat this once again. I believe it's Bruce Schneier who came up with the line that fortunately for us the terrorists are stupid; if they weren't, they'd build a bomb that detonates when there are five American passports in range.

          By mandating that we have RFID chips in our passports, our authorities are not only violating our civil liberties; they're actually risking

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Yeff ( 1108747 )
      We used to have "Selective Availability". That meant that the US military GPS signal was much more accurate than those found on civilian receivers. President Clinton had SA turned off worldwide meaning the civilian GPS signal is now as accurate as US military systems. Since GPS is so integrated into society now it will probably never be turned on again. I don't think (I seldom ever do any thinking) that the current system can currently be shut off by region but SA can be turned back on regionally.
  • by Gat0r30y ( 957941 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @04:27PM (#23440270) Homepage Journal
    Seriously - lost the in air refueler contract to Airbus (or NVS or whoever)- lost this contract to Lockhead - What is the deal?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16, 2008 @04:51PM (#23440520)

      Seriously - lost the in air refueler contract to Airbus (or NVS or whoever)- lost this contract to Lockhead - What is the deal?
      Pretty simple actually... About two years ago, Boeing awarded all its print services to Lexmark.
    • EADS, not NVS. NVS heals people, EADS, well you get the idea...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ozbird ( 127571 )
      Hubris.
    • Seriously - lost the in air refueler contract to Airbus (or NVS or whoever)- lost this contract to Lockhead - What is the deal?

      They recently moved the company headquarters to Chicago while leaving their operations in Seattle. I know it was to avoid punitive taxation, but I wouldn't buy anything life-critical from a company that did that.

  • waste of money (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ILuvRamen ( 1026668 )
    Why didn't they have NASA build it? They're not for profit and always want more money to do stuff. Any company is obviously making money off it while NASA wouldn't be. Plus, they kinda know a bit about space and satellites.
    • Re:waste of money (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <slashdot@nOSPam.pitabred.dyndns.org> on Friday May 16, 2008 @04:31PM (#23440312) Homepage
      You do realize that NASA is a hell of a lot like the Air Force, they pay a bunch of contractors like Lockheed to do most of the work? NASA isn't interested (and has no authority over) the warfare parts, they have very little that's classified by way of personnel and information, so it's a job much more suited to the Air Force, what with the NAVWAR and other capabilities they think it needs.
    • Because then they wouldn't be hot on China's heels(with China's competing GPS-wannabe [slashdot.org]). Kinda ironic considering that a better and more productive pissing contest would be that of another manned space mission.
    • NASA *doesn't build anything*. Never have built anything significant. virtually everything launched into has been built by contractors. Mercury/Gemini = McDonnell, Apollo CSM = North American, Apollo LM = Grumman, S1C = Chrysler, SII = North American Seal Beach, Voyager = TRW, MCO/MRO/MO/MPL = Lockheed, etc.

              Brett
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by icegreentea ( 974342 )
      Lockheed also knows quite a lot about space and satellites. They built the satellite that the Hubble is housed in. They built the rocket upper stage that the Gemini went to space in, they built the Corona series spy satellites, and they built the Atlas V rocket. I'm sure there's more. As someone else pointed out, NASA generally doesn't build stuff. They contract out most things. Because paying companies who want to make money happens to be an excellent way to get stuff built.
    • Why didn't they have NASA build it?

      NASA doesn't build anything it uses any more than the DoD builds anything it uses. The STS orbiter is made by Rockwell. The Saturn V system's stages were built by Boeing, North American, and Douglas. The Apollo modules, North American. The Lunar Module, Grumman.

      NASA is not a manufacturer. See, government agencies that need [weapons|spacecraft|*] send out a list of specs and a request for bids. Contractors like Boeing, Northrop-Grumman, and so forth take those specs and create a product. The prototype p

  • Used in the search for GPSIV!
  • Quick translation... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by victim ( 30647 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @04:34PM (#23440332)

    a ten-fold increase in signal power ... a new civil signal compatible with the European Union's Galileo system

    I think that translates to "ability to override the European Union's Galileo".
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16, 2008 @04:40PM (#23440394)
      Actually, no, that translates to "GPSIII receivers can also receive Galileo signals so GPS doens't become obsolete". Galileo's public version is as accurate as current military GPS, and Galileo's commercial version is approximately 10x more accurate than current military GPS. In other words, as Galileo grows, less and less people would have any reason to continue supporting GPS.

      If you think anyone in Europe would trust US military programs or give the US any control over european satellites after the Bush junta, you must be out of your mind.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lgw ( 121541 )

        If you think anyone in Europe would trust US military programs or give the US any control over european satellites
        The US military has enough control over every satellite to turn it off, regardless of popular opinion in Europe. If the US wants Galileo turned off, then "launch launch launch pop pop pop" off it goes. It's ridiculous to think that the Galileo program was somehow a counter to the US military.
        • by flyingsquid ( 813711 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @05:45PM (#23441046)
          OK, here's a hypothetical situation for you. One of the major EU countries wants to engage in military action, but the U.S. is against this.

          This sounds a bit far-fetched at first... if there's a conflict and it's sufficiently serious that the Europeans want to take up arms, wouldn't the U.S. want a piece of the action? But perhaps it involves a terrorist attack on an EU country, and to retaliate, the EU wants to drop some bombs or a few commando teams inside the territory of one of our close "allies" like Pakistan, where a lot of the terrorists currently hang out. But the U.S. doesn't want to risk upsetting the Pakistanis.

          As I understand things, the U.S. could just say, "Fine. Go ahead. And have fun, guys... but you should remember to bring a map and a good compass, because we're not going to let you guys use our GPS system for navigation, targeting or troop maneuvers." As I understand things, the Europeans would be pretty much fucked. We could call off one of their military actions just by denying them GPS capability or degrading the signal, right?. Even if they were 90% certain they didn't actually want to use a military strike, just taking that card out of their hand would really reduce their power in a negotiation in a conflict.

          In the past, I don't think this was so much of an issue. But with the fall of communism, it's less clear that the EU and US will stick together as closely as they have in the past. Furthermore, the U.S.'s foreign policy for the past 8 years, a belligerent "fuck you and get out of my way" attitude towards long-time allies like France and Germany, raises the possibility that U.S. and EU interests could come into direct conflict. Think about it this way. How would it change things if, say, France had control over the GPS system? Would the Iraq war even have been possible? The U.S. would never tolerate that state of affairs. Why should the EU?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            You highlight here one of the more serious issues being discussed behind closed doors with regard to Turkish accession to the EU.
          • by arse maker ( 1058608 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @07:41PM (#23442022)
            Umm, lets start at the top. I assume you live in America. If you think France, Germany or the UK is going to invade Pakistan, well, that is honestly funny. Also... should they decide to invade Pakistan, are you seriously suggesting without gps they cannot do it? We aren't christopher columbus, we can find countries without gps. Further, do you realise not even US weapons use (or better put, require) gps. Scuds dont use gps + google maps to navigate. They use carefully tuned preprogrammed flight paths. More impressivly (or scarily) is ICBMS.. they have no guidance, they are shot into orbit and fall onto their targets in the km/s range with simple point and shoot logic. I could even point out the number 3 and most relevant point... no one can seriously choose to invade pakistan. They have the bomb, the same reason as no gps / anything will cause America to be invaded, you can wipe out the earth without gps with your nukes. Its called MAD, you might have heard of it. Its americas collapse via ecconomic reasons that is the real threat... just ask the soviet union. Why does history seem to have so many lessons? :p
            • by Detritus ( 11846 )
              You are wrong about current US weapons systems. There are weapons that require GPS, like the JDAM. Many others are being upgraded to use GPS.
              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by arse maker ( 1058608 )
                They do not *require* gps. They use it when available. Wiki: "JDAM equipped bombs are guided to their target by an integrated inertial guidance system coupled with a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver for enhanced accuracy" Its the same as ICBMs, sure, no gps removes an advantage, but you can sure as hell go to war without gps, and the US barely uses GPS in the way the public might believe. Special ops guys painting targets with lasers is still far more common, cheaper and more accurate in most case
              • by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @10:57PM (#23443102) Homepage
                Incorrect. From http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/smart/jdam.htm [fas.org]
                "Guidance is accomplished via the tight coupling of an accurate Global Positioning System (GPS) with a 3-axis Inertial Navigation System (INS). The Guidance Control Unit (GCU) provides accurate guidance in both GPS-aided INS modes of operation (13 meter (m) Circular Error Probable (CEP)) and INS-only modes of operation (30 m CEP). INS only is defined as GPS quality hand-off from the aircraft with GPS unavailable to the weapon (e.g. GPS jammed). In the event JDAM is unable to receive GPS signals after launch for any reason, jamming or otherwise, the INS will provide rate and acceleration measurements which the weapon software will develop into a navigation solution."

                The military does not depend solely upon GPS for any navigational necessity. We had a half dozen GPS devices in my squad in Afghanistan, but we also had a map and compass and knew how to use them. It's like that all the way up to the B-2 Spirit: use GPS, but don't make it your only resource.
                • by Detritus ( 11846 )
                  You can also drop the damn thing in dumb bomb mode but that isn't what it's intended for. Without GPS, your INS drifts and and any hope of pinpoint accuracy quickly disappears. The INS in the guidance package is intended to compensate for brief GPS outages, not prolonged unavailability of GPS. Without GPS, you'd probably be better off with dumb bombs and bombing radar.
          • by Black-Man ( 198831 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @08:11PM (#23442228)
            If you lived in the US you would know the 3 presidential candidates are basically on-record of saying they intend to MEND the relations which were damaged the past 8 years. And its why none of the US allies is alarmed - they know GWB is gone in 6 months and w/ him goes his warped policies.

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by mofag ( 709856 )
              Oh if only it were that simple: that GWB is the evil genius and its not all his father's henchmen. I'm gonna try to live in your world though - its much sunnier than mine :)
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Rich0 ( 548339 )
          I doubt it would come to this. European leaders would most likely cooperate with the US if asked, and then publicly condemn whatever is going on for the sake of the masses. And if asked nicely by a European leader the US would probably go ahead and selectively degrade GPS in some region if that were strategically necessary for a European state.

          While there is a lot of political posturing going on, the fact is that Europeans and Americans have a lot more in common than they have in opposition.

          However, if th
        • Not valid (Score:4, Insightful)

          by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @11:28PM (#23443272)
          "launch launch launch pop pop pop" could mean the following :

          1) the EU possibly starts (possibly collaboration with the Chinese) to destroy all US satellite, including KH and GPS one.
          2) all intellectual property of the US are forfeited
          3) the US lose ANY support whatsoever. For a VERY long time. And it find itself isolated politically, and as much isolated economically as the world can bear (I doubt there is anything the US physically produce which could not be produced/built over a few month/years in another part of the world)
          4) escalation of conflict in nuclear war. Remember, some country in EU still have the same nasty nuke that you have. Then we have 2 sets of loser (EU/US) and one winner : the rest of the world.

          Anybody which think that the US can kill any satellite of the EU or China because they dislike it, should have its head examinated, because there would be pretty hefty consequence.
          • errrm ... when the US and the EU exchange nukes, I think the rest of the world won't like the fluorescent light, if you catch my radioactive drift.
          • by lgw ( 121541 )
            If there wasn't a war between the US and the EU, there'd be little reason to turn off the EU GPS system. In the unlikely event of a war between the US and the EU, these would not be significant concerns:

            1) It's hard to shoot down a satellite without designing a weapon specifically for the task - improvising this is hard. The US and the USSR built such weapons during the Cold War, and there may even still be "killer satellites" in orbit, but but ground-launched and air-launched special-purpose anti-satellit
      • The US military could not possibly rule out jamming alternatives and can't allow somebody to have a bigger dick. GPS has to be about as good or better and that is part of the motivation (other than the usual reason; giving money to contractors.)

        WHO can seriously believe for a second that they'd selectively block public GPS and allow alternative systems to function? They will be able to jam the others.

        The USA can't break other satellites without risking retaliation. Space Flak is far far FAR more damaging th
    • by Gat0r30y ( 957941 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @04:46PM (#23440464) Homepage Journal
      Galileo [wikipedia.org] is going at 2 frequencies 1164 to 1214 MHz and 1563 to 1591 MHz. While it looks like (the civilian part) of this version is just centered at the (L2 = 1227.60 MHz) & (L5 = 1176.45 MHz) - so the 1164-1214 civilian GPS units for Galileo should work with the civilian bands for these satellites too. As for the military stuff.... well I couldn't say.
  • What's the point? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JamesRose ( 1062530 )
    Do these sattelites have defences? Are their locations unknown by the enemy? No!
    Day 1, 0900: War Declared
    Day 1, 0915: All GPS satellites blasted out of the sky
    Day 1, 0930: US surrenders due to lack of any ability to locate their troops and organise them

    GPS in a military situation has always seemed to me kind of a bad idea to rely on too much. You put all this technology in your air crafts, your tanks, all your hummers, but when these precious badly defended satellites get knocked out the planes cant fly and
    • by maxume ( 22995 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @04:44PM (#23440432)
      Name the last time the United States went to war with somebody with anti-satellite technology. When you are fighting an asymmetric battle, it is plenty useful.
      • Name a country that has any sort of real ASAT defenses, other than maybe Russia (I say maybe because who knows what their readiness is anymore). Right now, the US doesn't really have to worry about anyone being able to shoot down their satellites. I'm sure that'll change in time as China seems to be working on ASAT technology, but at the present time other than (possibly) Russia, there just isn't anywhere that has the systems it takes to shoot down the GPS network. Remember that to be an effective target, y
        • A sure way to knock down satellite are nuclear bombs carried by reconfigured ICBMs (see, test Starfish Prime [nuclearweaponarchive.org]). A significant portion of the nuclear club has this capability.
          Of course, military satellites are designed to be radiation hardened, but this is intended as a way to survive to the effects of nuclear explosions not directly aimed at the satellite or at the cluster in question.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by billcopc ( 196330 )
      More like:

      Day 1, 0930: US blames Al Qaeda, carpet bombs the entire middle-east

      Day 1492, 0705: Witness comes forth, claiming the destruction of GPS satellites was an inside job.

      Day 1492, 0930: I die in my office chair from violent eye-rolling spasms.
    • Day 1, 0900: War Declared

      Day 1, 0915: All GPS satellites blasted out of the sky

      Day 1, 0930: US surrenders due to lack of any ability to locate their troops and organise them

      That's just plain retarded. You sound like some old-timer complaining about dem fancy-dancy-gee-whiz-electronical-thingamajiggers.

      GPS is just a tool. If you think that the US military would be massively distrusted by an inability to use it, you're sorely mistaken. At worst they'd be slightly inconvenienced, and would cause more collat

    • Do you think the only way the U.S. can organize it's troops is through GPS? Do you think that missiles rely solely on GPS for guidance? You can't possibly think that.

      Your perceived vulnerability is completely non-existent. GPS merely augments our ability to fight along with a lot of other technologies. You never rely on a single point of failure and the military practices better than most.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      GPS in a military situation has always seemed to me kind of a bad idea to rely on too much.

      What makes you think we are overly dependent upon them? Sure they are convenient, and if working why not use them, but do you really think that they have stopped teaching people how to use compasses at West Point and Quantico? I'm pretty sure ground commanders have considered this issue. Hell, in the Marines when recruits were introduced to the K-Bar, a 7 inch combat knife, they were told it was the most reliable
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dun Malg ( 230075 )

      You put all this technology in your air crafts, your tanks, all your hummers, but when these precious badly defended satellites get knocked out the planes cant fly and tanks, ships and other operations are seriously impared.
      Seriously? You think we grunts don't know how to navigate with a paper map and compass? You think those planes just wandered around lost before GPS was fielded? Really, GPS is a convenience. All the shit still works without it.
  • Great News (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tyrione ( 134248 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @04:44PM (#23440438) Homepage
    Boeing has a surplus of Commercial and Military Contracts. In fact, if we could have a few more prominent startups for Defense Contracting the better.
    • While Lockheed only has that new F22, and the JSF... and plenty of other stuff. Lockheed Martin isn't in dire need of new contracts.
  • by viking80 ( 697716 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @04:45PM (#23440446) Journal
    The reason Europe decided to build Galileo as a direct civilian alternative to US' GPS was to prevent the US from shutting down all navigation in case of a conflict. TFA says that the new (US military) GPS now will have 500x transmit power, and also transmit a new civilian signal (L1C) to be fully compatible and interoperable with EU's Galileo.

    I wonder if the capability to "interoperate" with the Galileo system also includes "Jamming". Seems like the satellite could produce a good military GPs signal while at the same time transmit a corrupt L1C signal to "interoperate" with the Galileo system.
    • by mangu ( 126918 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @05:01PM (#23440636)

      The reason Europe decided to build Galileo as a direct civilian alternative to US' GPS was to prevent the US from shutting down all navigation in case of a conflict

      In case of war, it won't be the US that will shut down GPS. It will be the US enemies.


      Satellites are extremely vulnerable. They would be the first thing to be hit in case of a major war, this was already predicted in this thirty-year-old book [amazon.com]

      • by Blackeagle_Falcon ( 784253 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @05:13PM (#23440752)

        In case of war, it won't be the US that will shut down GPS. It will be the US enemies.

        Satellites are extremely vulnerable. They would be the first thing to be hit in case of a major war, this was already predicted in this thirty-year-old book [amazon.com]

        A satellite's vulnerability really depends on it's orbit. Satellites in Low Earth Orbit a few hundred miles up are pretty vulnerable (as the US Navy shootdown of an errant American spy satellite recently showed). GPS satellites are in a much higher orbit, around 12,600 miles up. That makes them considerably more difficult to hit and probably puts them out of range of a lot of antisatellite capabilities (of course it's hard to tell since no country actually admits to having an ASAT weapon, much less what it's exact capabilities are). Communications satellites in geostationary orbit 22,240 are even more difficult to get to. In a war I'd be a lot more concerned about the reconnaissance satellites than GPS or communications sats.
      • In case you hadn't noticed, we've been at war for 8 years now. So far so good as far as the GPS satellites are concerned.
    • I used to think Galileo was a total waste of money. now Hallelujah I am a believer!
    • If you mean actual signal jamming then sure. They will be interoperable because they work in the same frequency range. That also means, of course, the same kind of jamming equipment work on them. However that isn't really a concern as that is a local phenomena.

      What you are probably thinking about is actually turning it off for certain areas. That's the concern with GPS. It's a military project from start to finish, so the US military runs it. While they are pleased to let civilians use it, they do retain ul
      • You are missing my point. The new US GPS sattelites have a seperate transponder to transmit the L1C.
  • GPS outage (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Strange Ranger ( 454494 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @04:49PM (#23440494)
    GPS outages that can be targeted to small geographic areas sure makes me reach for my tinfoil hat.

    People not just in the U.S. but around the world have come to rely on it like it's public infrastructure.
    • Shouldn't you don your tinfoil hat when they turn ON the gps in a targeted small geographic area?

      OMGOSH! The government stopped reading my brain! *hat*
  • by boristdog ( 133725 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @04:54PM (#23440556)
    I remember that from "The Harlem Globetrotters in Outer Space"!!!!
  • Mmmh. I'd better start selling counterfeit GPS satellites on E-bay then...
  • Satellite DRM (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rastoboy29 ( 807168 )
    I think it's an interesting problem to create a satellite that emits a radio signal that can only be used by some people, but not others, as in the "military" and "civilian" signals from these satellites.

    I daresay at some point it would be considered a war crime to disrupt GPS signals, in any case, when civilization is much more dependent on them, as I think it is reasonable to expect in the future.
    • Re:Satellite DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @06:55PM (#23441620) Journal

      I think it's an interesting problem to create a satellite that emits a radio signal that can only be used by some people, but not others, as in the "military" and "civilian" signals from these satellites.
      It's really not all that hard.
      The civilian signal is unencrypted.
      The military signal is encrypted.
      All they do is flip a switch and the civilian signal is gone

      I daresay at some point it would be considered a war crime to disrupt GPS signals, in any case, when civilization is much more dependent on them, as I think it is reasonable to expect in the future.
      What?
      A warcrime for a Sovereign Nation to control their property?

      Why do you think the EU lofted their own GPS network?
      Why do you think the Soviets began lofting GLONASS during the Cold War?
      If you don't control it, don't depend on it.
      • And to limit the "DRM" impact, making the GLONASS, Gallileo and GPS systems transmit both CDMA and FDMA signals, receivers supporting the two formats would essentially eliminate the "DRM" fear.

        Sure, each individual player (US, EU or Russia/India) could selectively disable their own system's coverage over a region if they wanted, but the receivers would just pick satellites from the remaining systems.

        So it seems rather redundant and costly for a system to incorporate regional off-switches when the power to s
  • by Kentamanos ( 320208 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @06:08PM (#23441212)
    Will this affect my driving in the future? If I'm in my car using my car's GPSIII nav and suddenly get zero signal, should I pull over immediately to 'duck and cover'? :)
  • GPSIII Galileo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tsa ( 15680 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @08:10PM (#23442220) Homepage
    I bet GPSIII will be operational way before Galileo is. The way we handle big projects here in Europe is appalling.

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