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Blog Editor’s Note: Interesting article on  some space-based services with the potential to augment or offer an alternative to GPS/ GNSS. 

As we have said before, space-based systems offer things you can’t get from terrestrial and need to be part of a coherent and resilient PNT architecture. It is hard to imagine, though, how space-based alone could be sufficient. 

The outlet is “SpaceNews,” so it is perhaps understandable they would chose not to mention the many companies that offer terrestrial augments and alternatives. 

At the same time, establishing terrestrial systems will “take the bullseye off of space” making it a safer environment for all.

With terrestrial anti-satellite lasers, nuclear powered EW satellites lofted by Russia, and all manner of Chinese and Russian ASAT vehicles going into orbit, we would think space folks would be very interested in things that can de-escalate the environment. Even if those things were on the ground.

All that said, it is good to see the market ready to provide these kinds of services. A big unanswered question, though – who is going to pay, and why?

Full disclosure, Xona Space Systems is a corporate supporter of the RNT Foundation.


Startups map out strategies to augment or backup GPS

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Companies investing billions of dollars in autonomous cars, delivery drones and urban air taxis are counting on precise and reliable location data being available when they need it.

GPS-level accuracy of 4.9 meters for a smartphone operating under clear skies won’t be good enough. Before autonomous cars can speed down highways, they will need to know their location within around 10 centimeters with roughly one error every billion miles.

“When you start doing the math, you realize almost every car in your fleet has to have sub-10-centimeter accuracy for its entire lifetime,” said Patrick Shannon, CEO and co-founder of TrustPoint, a startup based in Silicon Valley and Northern Virginia developing a new global navigation satellite system (GNSS).