DARPA Pursuing Global Positioning System Alternatives

Comparison of geostationary, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Compass (MEO), International Space Station, Hubble Space Telescope and Iridium constellation orbits, with the Van Allen radiation belts and the Earth to scale. (source: Wikipedia)

Comparison of geostationary, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Compass (MEO), International Space Station, Hubble Space Telescope and Iridium constellation orbits, with the Van Allen radiation belts and the Earth to scale. (source: Wikipedia)

July 16, 2018 | Source: National Defense Magazine, nationaldefensemagazine.org, 31 May 2108, Connie Lee

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is looking to develop alternative positioning, navigation and timing capabilities.

Dave Tremper, a program manager at the agency’s strategic technology office, said relying solely on GPS provides users with a single point of failure.

“GPS is so good that it’s kind of knocked all of the other players off the field,” he said. “What happens when it’s not there and what happens when your system still needs that degree of timing and you still need that degree of position? … We’re going back and scrubbing systems and saying, ‘We need to really think about having that redundancy to GPS.’’’

One of the agency’s projects is the Spatial, Temporal and Orientation Information in Contested Environments program, he said. The effort, known as STOIC, is focused on developing a GPS backup, Tremper noted.

Part of the STOIC project leverages information gathered from a former program called Adaptable Navigation Systems, he said, which examined different types of signals for positioning, navigation and timing. One of these signal types included very low frequency transmissions, he said.


Related Information:

DARPA Adaptable Navigation Systems (ANS) program

DARPA Micro-Technology for Positioning, Navigation and Timing (Micro-PNT) program

DARPA Spatial, Temporal, and Orientation Information in Contested Environments (STOIC) program

DARPA Quantum-Assisted Sensing and Readout (QuASAR) program

DARPA DARPA-funded Atomic Clock Sets Record for Stability, 29 August 2013

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