Since it was disclosed late last month that President Bush has directed the Department of Defense to draw up plans for temporarily disabling the U.S. network of GPS satellites during a national crisis to prevent terrorists from using the technology, operators have been seeking more details and clarification of the policy. How U.S. policy would apply to Galileo, Europe’s planned GPS network, is unknown.
Senior U.S. and international government and industry officials told specialists attending two meetings recently that by 2020 as many as 100 satellites could be radiating GPS-compatible navigation signals to air, sea and land users, with the overwhelming proportion of users being on land.
Performance-based navigation was identified in ICAO’s Future Air Navigation System concept of the early 1990s, which defined required navigation performance capability as a parameter “describing lateral deviations from assigned or selected track as well as along-track position-fixing accuracy on the basis of an appropriate containment level.”
On December 28, the European Space Agency launched the first test satellite of its future Galileo navigation system. Three days earlier, Russia launched three satellites to join the previous 14 in its Glonass navigation network. Meanwhile, U.S. Department of Defense officials expressed concern about whether GPS could remain competitive without major technology upgrades.
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