Monday, December 9, 2019
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Air Force’s NTS 3 Experiment Likely To Pave The Way For Future GPS

Air Force's NTS 3 Experiment Likely To Pave The Way For Future GPS

Heather Wilson, the secretary of the Air Force commented that military satellites glasshouse came into existence even before the stone invention. These military satellites offer positioning, navigation and timing services, in short termed as PNT. This comment was made when he was asked about the vulnerabilities in the space architecture of the country.

This analogy was given in the context that the existing GPS satellites might become the target of the enemy countries. Pentagon along with the intelligence agency of the country warned that Russia and China have developed advanced electronic gadgets. These weapons might jam and use the GPS signals to their own benefit.

Military activities are much dependent on these PNT signals. The defense department is always on the research to find ways to work in an environment where the GPS signals do not exist. So Pentagon is taking the threat of jamming the signals very seriously.

To solve the issue, scientists have come up with GPS 3. This advanced technology is more powerful in stopping any jamming or spoofing attempts. Air Force is also making an attempt to improve the PNT capabilities of the GPS signals. One of the probable solutions is adding smaller satellites in the Earth’s orbit. To check if this idea is working, the Airport Research Laboratory will launch NTS-3, a new variety of PNT satellite.

The program manager of NTS-3, Arlen Biersgreen informed this experiment will prove if this GPS constellation can be more resilient. NTS-3 is supposed to be right above its spot always, while the present GPS constellations (31 in numbers) orbit around the Earth 2 times in a day.

NTS-3 was manufactured by Harris Corp. This contract was signed between AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate and Harris Corp in December 2018. The company has used Northrop Grumman ESPAStar bus to build NTS-3.

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