GPS Tracking and National Security

The U.S. Air Force is set to receive a set of two A2100 composite satellite
structures and the first ship set of propellant tanks for the GPS III
satellites. These deliveries, which represent use of enhanced GPS tracking technology,
is only the first part in a much larger project in GPS tracking systems.

The GPS III structure is made from a composite material that is lightweight and
high-strength, which makes it ideal for integration into military hardware. The
GPS III satellites are expected to deliver navigation that is three times more
accurate than current GPS tracker systems in place. It will also have advanced anti-jam
capabilities, making it more predictable in hostile areas.

Good news for the rest of us, since the system will also be adding a new
international civil signal (L1C) that is designed to work with existing GPS tracking
. Just don’t expect to see results until after the project is completed in


Research at Ohio State University is providing more information on tracking underground nuclear tests from thousands of miles away through GPS tracking technology, as detailed in a presentation at the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization meeting in Vienna.

Researchers hope the added use of GPS tracking technology, in addition seismic activity and chemical sensors already in use, will provide concrete evidence on underground nuclear tests, by pinpointing precisely when and where tests occur.

When a powerful underground  nuclear test occurs, it creates changes in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, known as the ionisphere.  The ionispheric changes are detectable by GPS tracking satellites, alerting scientists to the possibility of an underground nuclear test.   The use of GPS tracking in this manner is still in development, with one of the biggest challenges being the ability to recognize the difference between an earthquake and an underground nuclear test.