Temporary 3rd GPS Signal to be Launched
Defense contractor Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $6 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to develop a demonstration payload for a satellite that will transmit a third GPS civil signal.
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The third signal is meant to enhance civilian capability and is primarily designed for safety-of-life applications, such as aviation, according to Defense Department documents.
A 2001 Transportation Department report warned of the vulnerability of not only civilian transportation systems, particularly airlines, to GPS disruptions but also an increasing number of telecommunications systems including the Internet, which use the satellite timing capabilities to synchronize their networks.
Building redundancy into the system is one of the primary ways of protecting GPS from sabotage or accidental disruption.
The U.S. military has also been trying to find a way to have a separate and better-protected military GPS system.