It’s official Space is no longer free …

I wrote recently a post on the dangers of militarising and claiming Space as an area that needs active defence strategies. Those fears came at that time from the recent actions by China claiming all space over its country (to what height is as of yet unknown!) and also the event of China having shot a weather satellite with a ground based missile.

I already explained my concerns for navigation Systems which are free to all of us but controlled by the military and of course used to guide precise munitions, troops, vehicles, planes, drones, etc. Therefore denying precise navigation over large areas (your own country) to an enemy would seem like a reasonable military objective so they cannot so easily hit your own mainland. Such a grand objective can be accomplished best from space by transmitting a large power signal similar to the navigation signal on the same frequency. This would pose very great concerns to all of us civilians working in this field, the next few years will be very telling and possibly full of changes and challenges.

In no time we now hear two more worrying stories now from the US, first in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and many others. The US Navy will shoot down a spy satellite with a ship based missile, they are claiming some kind of danger from reentry of the satellite but it sounds to me like an excuse simply to show the world that China is not the only one that can shoot a satelllite from the sky. After all we have had Skylab, Mir, Cryosat, a Russian Mars mission all crash back into the planet in planned and unplanned modes without a big deal made by anyone.

And so we are off to the Space weapons race I have no doubt now that given the climate of tension created by this US administration with Rusia and with China over the missile shield we are seeing the beginning of the Space weapons race. This is clearly supported by this additional story also from the NY Times US Objects to Weapons in Space Ban. The treaty proposed by Rusia and China may have been judged by the US to be a provocation, I am not sure, but what is clear is that Rusia and China want to make the US the bad guy by proposing something a-priori unacceptable to the US only to have it rejected. This is a common ploy which in the current international climate makes the US seem to be the bad guy for sure in the eyes of the world. On the one hand the US opposes a “Ban on Weapons in Space” and on the other it deploys a Missile shield with elements in Europe and Japan and shoots down a satellite wih a missile, you can see how that can be trouble.

Returning to our GNSS field the dangers are explained above if a satellite based system starts trasmitting similar PRN codes on the same frequency we would be unable to decorrelate the real Navigation signal and thus establish lock on the satellites to provide effective navigation and positionning. I am NOT a telecomms engineer so maybe I am wrong, what do you think of all this?

Take care
Nacho Romero

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