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Blog Editor’s Note: An interesting news item. Several thoughts.

  • We are pretty sure China is not using GPS for its rocket launches.  Especially since China’s origin story for Bei Dou, “the unforgettable humiliation,” is about the perils of relying on GPS for rocketry. – Interesting that the South China Post opined the device could cause a rocket to veer off course. Probably idle and incorrect speculation.
  • Perhaps the device was a jammer that interferes with all GNSS. The media sometimes says “GPS” when they mean “satellite navigation.” It is not hard to find relatively inexpensive devices that can jam all GNSS at the same time.
  • Perhaps it was a “GPS jammer” not designed to interfere with other GNSS, but that does so anyway. The GNSS frequencies are reasonably close together and the folks who make these devices aren’t always hyper focused on which frequencies are impacted. I.E. they are cheaply made, so low quality and indiscriminate. 
  • Interesting that this device was found at all. It is not clear from the article whether its discovery was part of a dedicated spectrum hygiene effort or by happenstance. We are guessing the latter since it took several days for authorities to locate the interference source. We are guessing they will have intentional and dedicated efforts from now on.
  • Sounds this was a small device intended to conceal the location of a vehicle and driver.  Limited range, repeated but intermittent activation. Such devices are far more commonly used than most authorities admit. And most of them are made… wait for it… in China!

Thanks to RNTF member and Advisor Guy Buesnel for sending this item on to us!



Alarm in China as GPS jammer discovered near space rocket launch site

Authorities in China have discovered a GPS jamming device in a vehicle near the launch site of the Shenzhou-14 rocket.

According to local media, researchers at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northern China have discovered a vehicle carrying a GPS jammer. This find comes just weeks before the next lift-off of the Shenzhou-14 manned mission which will carry 3 astronauts to the Tiangong space station.

The incident was reported by Hong Kong publication, The South China Morning Post, which in turn cited the official Beijing Daily newspaper. If this finding is officially confirmed, it would be the first time that China has denounced an incident of this type before a launch said the two papers.