At press time, the first of three monthly reports of the technical arguments between experts from LightSquared and the GPS community over GPS jamming was about to be issued.
Global navigation satellite system
Following a certification and verification process, the European Commission approved the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (Egnos) “safety-of-life” service for aviation last Wednesday. Egnos is closely similar to, and compatible with, the U.S. Waas satellite-based augmentation system that corrects timing errors in GPS signals, making it more accurate.
Small, inexpensive GPS jammers carried by truckers have caused the occasional shutdown of the Laas test installation at Newark Airport. The devices, powered by simply plugging into the cigarette lighter, are intended to foil interrogations of the truck's remotely installed GPS and its coupled cellphone by the trucking company's dispatcher to check on the vehicleπs location and progress.
Eurocopter recently announced the success of the flights it conducted in November with an EC145 light twin to test Galileo satellite navigation. Galileo, Europe’s GPS counterpart, is expected to offer higher reliability than current augmented GPS. But
the helicopter manufacturer does not expect the tested applications to be operational until 2015.
The first geostationary satellite for India’s Gagan GPS space-based augmentation system (SBAS)–essentially similar to Waas–was lost on April 15 when its launch rocket’s second-stage cryogenic engine failed to ignite. That followed the early-April loss of Intelsat’s Galaxy 15 geosat, which was carrying the FAA’s Pacific Waas transponder.
The first geostationary satellite for India’s Gagan GPS space-based augmentation system (SBAS)–essentially similar to Waas–was lost on April 15 when its launch rocket’s second-stage cryogenic engine failed to ignite. That followed the early-April loss of Intelsat’s Galaxy 15 geosat, which was carrying the FAA’s Pacific Waas transponder. The satellite was slowly drifting out of orbit and could no longer provide usable GPS accuracy corrections.
The U.S. Coast Guard and its parent, the Department of Homeland Security, on January 7 announced that U.S. loran-C stations will be progressively shut down between February and October, since everyone now uses GPS for navigation. The banks and the communications industry also moved from loran to the slightly more accurate GPS for split-second transaction timing for our ATMs and our cellphones.
The U.S. Coast Guard and its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, announced earlier this month that loran-C stations in the U.S. will be progressively shut down between next month and October. The U.S. considers maintaining its loran station network, costing $36 million per year, unaffordable.
The recent spate of accidents in helicopter offshore oil operations has thrown safety research programs–many of which have long been under way–into the spotlight. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is working on improving the safety of offshore helicopter operations through research into satellite-guided approaches–which would rely on Egnos, Europe’s Waas counterpart–and, in case of ditching, a side-floating concept.
GPS service is in danger of severe erosion, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). A Congressional “watchdog” of programs and spending of government departments, the GAO warns that the satellite navigation service could slowly worsen after 2010, and not recover to acceptable aviation levels before 2022.