Archive for the ‘GPS’ Category

China Attempts To Rival GPS

Posted: August 2, 2010 in Beidou, China, Compass, Free-Riders, GPS
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Five down and thirty to go.

That’s the status of China’s GPS-like constellation called Compass, or by its indiginous name, Beidou.

Why go to all the trouble of having your own positioning, navigation, and timing system when you can piggyback on GPS?

China has the same reason as the Russians and the EU.  They don’t want to be dependent on the U.S. for something that can be switched off (even if such an act would entail a tightwire walk over a worldly political minefield).

Does anyone much think about the parallels/irony between the Russians and the fuels used to power and heat much of Europe?

Or the fact that much of the EU piggybacks on U.S. provided security?

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The new space race will be for positioning, navigation, and timing.  Why?  It’s too important not to have, or conversely, it’s too important to have to depend on someone else for such space-provided services.

Who is in the game?  The U.S., Russia, China, and the ESA.

Assuming war doesn’t break out (with selective disabling), cross-system linking and ground station enhancements will reduce miss-distances to less than one meter.

Daniel Baker, writing at the New York Times, want climate and other scientists (as well as the public) to have access to much of the data generated by the GPS system.

The purpose would be to use the data to study the earth.

Seems reasonable, right?

The down side–for those with a vested emotional or financial interest–is what happens if GPS proves (or just suggests) global warming is a bunch of hooey?  Settled science isn’t settled if the data is cooked.

Maybe GPS can help uncook some of what has happened.  The truth is out there.

If you have a GPS-enabled 120 mm mortar round, it can get  you 10 meter accuracy from 7000+ meters away.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about the 120mm mortar.

Hot and fresh to your door in 30 seconds or less or the next one’s free (or something like that).

This article originally appeared in Air University’s The Wright Stuff.