Sunday, March 18, 2012

NASA on GPS jamming and LightSquared

GPS-III-AI recently came across a GPS jamming white paper (PDF) from NASA’s Space-Based Positioning Navigation & Timing (PNT) Advisory Board, which led me to other interesting documents on LightSquared, but let’s focus first on their anti-jamming recommendations, which I’ve summarized here…

  1. GPS should be declared critical infrastructure and managed as such by the Department of Homeland Security
  2. Establish and sponsor a National GPS Interference Locating, Reporting, and Elimination System
  3. Shut Down and Prosecuting Interferers – Legal and Law Enforcement actions. Consider Congressional Legislation to address interference that provides substantial fines and jail time for both possession and use of GPS jammers
  4. Harden GPS Receivers and Antennas – Government should encourage manufacturers to speed up the development and offering of interference resistant GPS receivers, especially for safety-of-life applications such as commercial air and maritime
  5. Fund a national back-up capability to insure continuity of PNT Operations, with a strong recommendation that the previously announced decision to deploy eLoran as the primary Alternate PNT should be reconfirmed and quickly implemented

A few ideas are thrown out in the second recommendation, including one which sounds like a smartphone app…

Cell phones that include GPS receivers can be configured to sense and automatically report suspected interference.  This would constitute a near instantaneous reporting channel, worldwide. 


It turns out that NASA’s PNT Advisory Board is also concerned about the GPS jamming potential of LightSquared:

Independent of the FCC-ordered study, the government’s National Space-Based PNT Systems Engineering Forum (NPEF) is conducting its own testing of the potential interference to GPS from LightSquared’s terrestrial network.

Here’s the NPEF’s task statement on LightSquared testing (PDF).

One last quote:

Prior to the FCC Order and Authorization, multiple federal agencies expressed concern about potential GPS interference from LightSquared. On behalf of the Executive Branch, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) sent a letter to the FCC (PDF) stating that the LightSquared proposal raised "significant interference concerns that warrant full evaluation" to ensure that federal agencies’ use of GPS is not adversely impacted.


About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

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