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President Space Force Fucking With Only Remaining Backup/Alternative to GPS

28 thoughts on “President Space Force Fucking With Only Remaining Backup/Alternative to GPS

  1. As of right now, there are exactly three things between modern long-distance navigation and the Eighteenth Century:

    satellite navigation availabilityquartz clocksthese fucking broadcasts

  2. Yet, the purpose of government budget reductions is not to do things better, but to save money by doing less. Whenever this happens we can only hope it is not too much less.

    Sigh…

    /FFS

  3. They turned off the whole GPS system to keep Saddam from using it during the 1st Persian Gulf War and we "won" that pretty handily so I don't see any problem here.

    Reading further in the article I learned that the entire LORAN (LOng RAnge Navigation) system was shut down some years ago. Who knew? In the Vietnam War the Air Force used LORAN to triangulate for "all weather" bombing under a system called Sentinel Lock. Wasn't very accurate.

    Okay, now I'm going to comb the toast crumbs out of my chest-length beard and take my nap.

    1. According to Wikipedia, GPS wasn't shut down.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gulf_War#Techno

      Anyway, there is a technological successor to LORAN-C, dubbed eLoran, using digital signals to get better precision, etc. The UK still has LORAN-C up and running because the English Channel is both narrow and crowded, and the South Koreans are working to upgrade their (continuing) LORAN-C network to eLoran because (wait for it…) North Korea keeps fucking with their GPS signal.
      http://insidegnss.com/?s=loran

      Naturally, Congress is "taking it seriously" and has been doing so for a decade or so now. I'm beginning to think that the official US policy is to back up GPS with thoughts and prayers.

      1. Wow you obviously know your navigation systems, whereas I am just an interested/ignorant observer. and erstwhile cartographer.

        To permit [mil GPS receivers] to be used to best effect, the "selective availability" feature of the GPS system was turned off for the duration of Desert Storm, allowing these commercial receivers to provide the same precision as the military equipment."

        That must be what I remember.

        Am I right in my belief that commercial air in the US is just starting to think about GPS navigation for airliners and such?

        1. No, commercial air travel is why GPS was made available to civilians in the first place; Reagan saw it as a way to stop Korean Airlines flights from wandering into Soviet airspace. The FAA operates some ground-based systems that work to augment GPS accuracy (GPS itself is USAF):
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wide_Area_Augmentat

          The Holy Grail right now is augmenting it enough to be used on approach and landing.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_Area_Augmenta

          Think of it as the difference between your car's GPS knowing what road you're on and knowing what lane you're in.

          This is all on the civilian side of things. Military GPS receivers already have access to encrypted frequencies that already allow a lot of augmentation.

    1. It's a good book but it overstated a bit the chronometer's victory over lunar distance measurements. You still wanted some sort of back-up to verify your chronometer against, and that meant either shelling out the money for three chronometers (if you only have two and one malfunctions, you won't know which one is the broken one), or having lunar distance tables available to fall back on. The US Naval Observatory kept publishing lunar distance tables in its almanac right on up to 1912, around the time that radio time signals caught on.

      If you lose GPS and there's no shortwave signal, your fall-back options are either to shell out the money to carry an actual atomic clock around with you (which cost a lot more than a GPS receiver), or you buy yourself a copy of the Stark Tables, the only book on the lunar distance method I can think of that's been published in the past century.

      (It's a neat book and the process the author devised is easy to follow, but literally half the work is calculating stuff the Navy stopped calculating for you in 1912.)

    1. "Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future."

      Notice the weaselly adverb: apparently irreversible.

      Cheerleader: WHAT DO WANT?

      Mob: TIME MACHINES!

      Cheerleader: WHEN DO WANT THEM?

      Mob: IT'S IRRELEVANT!

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