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  • Writer's pictureDAVID MITLYNG

Weekly Takeaways-March 15, 2022

Updated: Mar 29, 2022

Theme of the Week

A Call for Backup

Since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, the Cold War extended into the skies.

Today, space is no longer under government control, as Russia is finding out.

Russia undoubtedly expected on knocking out the world’s access to Ukraine.

Instead, new space stepped up to provide critical communications and surveillance.

A government leader has to be cautious to avoid escalation.

But private companies don’t have that burden; Russia can’t invade SpaceX.

The best they can do is threaten to ground western satellites, a move destined to backfire.

Unfortunately, there is no commercial backup for GPS - yet - and Russia knows this.

Russia has been jamming GPS for decades, so no surprise that is jamming in Ukraine.

But now there are reports of similar interference in Finland that grounded Finnair flights.

It is no coincidence that this occurred after Finland’s president met with POTUS.

All of this illustrates that America needs a commercial GPS backup.

Because, as Forbes points out: "Hoping that GPS will not be targeted is not a plan.”

Industry News

The More You Know...

On Sunday morning you may have noticed that some of your clocks are off by an hour. Daylight Savings Time strikes again! Today it is a petty annoyance, but it wasn't long ago when all clocks needed to be manually set. Now we take it for granted that our phones, computers, and connected electronics sync automatically. But sync to what? To the GPS master clock, with a software correction to match your local time zone referenced to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the international time standard. Surprisingly, GPS time differs from UTC by exactly 18 seconds. Leap seconds are periodically added to UTC to account for changes in the Earth's rotation. But GPS has not added in the 18 leap seconds since 1980 to ensure there are no timing jumps that would disrupt sensitive digital networks. All of this is described in an entertaining presentation by Dr. Patrizia Tavella, the Director of the Time Department at the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures in Sèvres, France. To learn more, please email us.


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