Space data to detect sources of GPS distraction

Space data to detect sources of GPS distraction

Radio-frequency data gathered by HawkEye 360 satellites all set to be used for the location of GPS interference hotspots

ST LOUIS – The increase in the number of electronic devices that are specially designed to communicate with Global Positioning System signals is a rising issue for most industries including Pentagon. These companies along with other companies that rely on Global Positioning System, the disturbances might impact each aspect of operations. Amongst these, one challenge is classifying accurate location and the interference source, said the Chief Operating Officer, at HawkEye 360, Rob Rainhart. It is a geospatial analytics firm that ensures the use of the satellite to track vehicles, ships, or any asspciated devices that release radio frequency signals.

HawkEye 360 ranks among the major remote satellite operators that exhibit their technologies at GEOINT Symposium, 2021, the current week.GNSS is elongated as Global Navigation Satellite System and can also be meant for any satellite constellation that offers positioning, timing; the PNT service, and navigation.

The company’s satellites that are integrated with software-defined radios, usually fly in 3-clusters; in the front, behind, and third that swing back and forth. The three clusters are presently in orbit. Rainhart said that HawkEye 360 told the government and also the commercial customers that are worried about the impact of the disturbance of GPS. It also included how will they apply radio-frequency data analytics for spotting interference.

The company has 3 satellite clusters in orbit today and is planning to launch more to enable more fine-tuned interference monitoring toolkits, says Rob. He also states that they have participated in few trials with foreign companies, in the GNSS interference. There is a lot of interest in the problem from clients around the globe.

DoD gets a Green Signal for the detection of GNSS disturbance

The DIU (Defense Innovation Unit), Pentagon that works with other commercial companies desires to take advantage of the growing availability of data from space and also other sources for geolocating GPS interference. In August, a  DIU solicitation demanded proposals titled situational awareness for intentional disturbance of GNSS users. The DoD is mainly interested in the large area of falsified GNSS emitters that lead to localized spoofing phenomenology.

GPS signals can be rejected via electronic jamming attacks. GPS users can also be hit with untrustworthy PNT data. This technique is also known as ‘spoofing’. “The entire world relies on GNSS-based systems, and yet the GPS architecture and the users are prone to rejection and manipulation by unpleasant factors,” says DIU.

DIU program manager, Nick Estep said the solicitation had closed on 23rd August and several proposals were received.  The main goal is to perform trials with commercially available data sources, space-based and terrestrial. He also added that the whole commercial sector is playing in this domain and they are sure to intrigue to tap it.

An example of this is the Automatic Identification System (AIS) – an onboard navigation safety device that transmits and regulates the sea location vessels in real-time. Estep said that it is a commercial commodity that is available and has been used in some situations to identify intentional spoofing and GNSS disturbances.

Adding to this he also said that they do not desire a traditional program of record. They desire the leverage of all these data sets including analytics which are already used in a commercial marketplace, and make use of this to harmonize the government capabilities.DUI is negative on the type of sensors or data used. Hence, many market players from the space and data analytics sectors have reacted to DIU’s solicitation, said Estep. DIU will choose multiple companies to pitch directly to military customers.

He added that successful vendors past phase two have the chance to focus on the executive model with DIU, work with coders collaboratively. A remarkable challenge for vendors is to present how they study data and come to conclusions from it, like whether GPS interference is being carried out intentionally or if it is unintentional, said Estep.

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