Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Air Force General Worried about LightSquared Effect on GPS

Commercial Internet service may interfere with GPS operability!

The following article is from "GPS World Magazine:"

Lt Gen Michael Basla, Vice Commander of Air Force Space Command, gave public voice to U.S. Air Force concerns that the commercial broadband Internet system proposed by LightSquared could disable current GPS receivers across the country — many of them used by the military and public security forces.
"Can you imagine if we have to change a half billion receivers?" Basla asked at a luncheon sponsored by the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, two days after his promotion to lieutenant general, the second highest rank attainable in the U.S. military, was announced.

Basla compared the relatively weak GPS signals from space to a 15-watt lightbulb seen from a distance of 3,000 miles. The LightSquared transmissions would be far, far louder than the GPS signals. Basla said if the interference is widespread it would cause "significant consequences to our nation."

The U.S. government has of course spent billions to date on the satellite system, and the Pentagon is in the midst of a $5.8 billion modernization plan involving the new IIF and III blocks of satellites, and the OCX ground control system.

LightSquared meanwhile has spent $1 billion on its satellite system and has plans to spend another $14 billion on ground-based transmitters, according to spokesperson Jeffrey Carlisle. LightSquared sent a team, including VP Carlisle, to Peterson Air Force base this month to meet with Space Command GPS experts about their concerns. Basla said a testing program set to begin in April will test whether the company's Internet transmissions cause interference.

GPS World Editor Alan Cameron addresses this issue in his Out In Front editorial column in the April issue of the magazine, just sent to press. (You can preview this column here.)
Basla was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general in a ceremony Monday at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The ceremony was conducted by Gen William L. Shelton, Commander of Air Force Space Command (AFSPC). Basla assists the commander in providing military-focused space and cyberspace capabilities to warfighting components of the U.S Armed Forces. Lt. Gen. Basla was was commissioned and entered the Air Force in 1979 as a distinguished graduate of the Officer Training School. Prior to assuming his current position, he was vice director for C4 Systems, Joint Staff, at the Pentagon.

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