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What’s New: Reporting on concerns about GPS compared to other national GNSS expressed at the most recent meeting of the President’s National Space-based PNT Advisory Board.

Why It’s Important: 

  • GPS has contributed to U.S. prestige and global leadership for over three decades. This seems to be eroding because other GNSS are newer and have more desirable features and services.
  • If BeiDou or Galileo supplant GPS as the default or reference signal in receivers the down stream engineering and technical implications could be significant.
  • China is encouraging nations and organizations to switch from GPS to BeiDou by subsidizing equipment and touting the system’s greater accuracy in many locations. If BeiDou is used exclusively, China will have an on/off switch for those applications.
  • See Harvard paper about China’s use of BeiDou for “soft power.”

What Else to Know:

  • The PNT Advisory Board has a white paper in development about this. See slides 4 & 5 here.
  • We think there are really two areas of concern.
    • Things GPS could provide, but hasn’t yet because they have not been leadership priorities. Two examples are declaring L5 operational and establishing an internet-based High Accuracy and Robustness Service.
    • Structural characteristics of GPS satellites and supporting systems that have very long lead times after long decision processes.
  • Here is a chart that was shown at the PNT Advisory Board in 2021 that, we understand, is being updated.



Experts raise concerns about U.S. commitment to GPS modernization