Recently, SpaceX launched a rocket into space from Cape Canaveral, Florida, that carried a large 5,000-pound, antenna-studded satellite to an altitude of 12,500 miles to the medium Earth orbit, where it would provide the next level of satellite upgrades for people on Earth.
There have been several ongoing projects that aimed to improve GPS and how we locate things around us. Elon Musk’s new GPS III satellite would give off signals that would know when you stop at an ATM on your way home. It would also give banks the information after your finances are refreshed during the transaction.
The GPS III is the newest member of a number of satellites that hover over the skies and have become a normal presence in people’s everyday lives. The technology represents a significant upgrade that makes the system better for everyone.
Countries around the world have become dependent on the Global Positioning System in providing crucial information that could not be identified otherwise. The technology allows you to figure out where you should be going to get to your destination, and more importantly, how long it would take to get there.
Additionally, GPS plays a critical role in financial transactions and stock trades, weather forecasts, earthquake monitoring, and power grid maintenance. The acting vice president of space navigation systems at Lockheed Martin, Tonya Ladwig, said GPS technology is used for more than just location and driving directions.
Part of everyday life
The National Institute of Standards and Technology conducted a study last year that found GPS has nearly $1 billion a day in economic impact in the United States. The researchers said that the technology’s reach was extraordinary.
Writer Greg Milner previously wrote in a book that it is nearly impossible to determine the overall value of GPS technology. He said that the technology has become so intertwined with everything that it is severely difficult to untangle the connections.
Several experts and lawmakers have long been concerned with the potential of GPS being susceptible to jamming or failing due to only being a weak signal by the time it reaches your phone or an aircraft landing. They worry that the invaluable source could become a single point of catastrophic failure.
GPS is only one of the systems of global navigation satellite systems around the world. Others include the European Union’s Galileo, Russia’s Glonass, and China’s BeiDou. The technology comes amid an increasing modernization that aims to provide better signals to everyone on Earth and increase the number of satellites active in orbit.
The one responsible for operating and maintaining the GPS constellation is the U.S. Space Force. Each unit is metallic and has sollar arrays equipped that look like a pair of wings. The satellites make two transits around the Earth each day, CNET reported.
Despite the precision of the satellites’ programming, manual observation is still required to ensure that the units are on course. A crew commander in the 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2 SOPS), 1st Lieutenant Andrew Johnson, said that the accuracy of the GPS vehicles is only as exact as the data they provide.
When first placed in orbit, the satellites receive a message that tells it where it is currently located. Afterward, it would process that information and finetune its settings and signal to monitor its own trajectory.
The director of operations and communications at Space Force headquarters in Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, Major General DeAnna Burt, said that their mission is to deliver consistent and reliable GPS service capabilities to U.S. warfighters. Space Force also works closely with commercial and civilian partners to monitor procedures and processes.