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Nov 2006 | Comments Off on NEWSBRIEFS – GPS

US agency says China used laser to jam US satellite

China has beamed a ground-based laser at US spy satellites over its territory, a US agency says. The action exposed the potential vulnerability of space systems that provide crucial data to American troops and consumers around the world. The Defence Department remains tightlipped
about details, including which satellite was involved or when it occurred. The Pentagon’s National Reconnaissance Office Director Donald Kerr has acknowledged the incident, first reported by Defence News, but said it did not materially damage the US satellite’s ability to collect information. “Space is a much bigger part of our military posture than it used to be, so any effort by the Chinese or anybody else to jam our satellites is potentially a big deal,” said Loren Thompson, Defence Analyst with the Virginia-based Lexington Institute. Clearly, the incident sparked fresh concerns among US officials about the US ability to determine if satellite problems are caused by malfunctions, weather anomalies like solar flares, or targeted attacks.

Russia clears space pact with India

Clearing the way for joint space exploration and transfer of space technology to New Delhi, the Indo- Russian space cooperation agreement has been signed into a federal law by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin signed the pact into a federal law after both houses of Russian parliament unanimously approved the pact last month. By being signed into law, Indo-Russian space cooperation will acquire strategic character and would speed up joint collaboration in completing and operationalising the GLONASS. Under the GLONASS agreement, Indian Space Research Organisation will launch Russian navigational satellites Glonass-M with the help of Indian space launch vehicles and jointly develop with Russia a new generation navigational satellite Glonass-K.

South Korea to introduce new geodetic system

The South Korean Government has designated Ullung Island as the starting point of a new geodetic system prior to changing to the World Geodetic System (WGS-84). To date the Tokyo Datum has been used for measuring distances after Japan occupied the peninsula in 1910. The geodetic system is a means of measuring the distance and location of objects on land by using a specific starting point. The starting point of the previous system was Tokyo. Under the new geodetic system, the coordinates of the Ullung Island starting point will be changed from 37 degrees 28 minutes 47.2005 seconds latitude north and 130 degrees 54 minutes 1.1705 seconds longitude east to 37 degrees 28 minutes 57.4331 seconds latitude north and 130 degrees 54 minutes 2.7496 seconds longitude east. The difference in measurements from the Tokyo Datum and those from the WGS-84 is 365 meters southwestward.

China starts to build own satellite navigation system

China announced to build a satellite navigation system that will include up to 35 satellites and be working in the Asian region by 2008, state press said. The system, called “Beidou”, will include five geostationary earth orbit satellites and 30 medium earth orbit satellites. Navigation services open to commercial customers will provide users with positioning accuracy within 10 meters (33 feet), velocity accuracy within 0.2 meters per second and timing accuracy within 50 nanoseconds, the report said.

Indian school installs GPS in its buses

The Cathedral and John Connan High School in Mumbai has installed GPS units in each of its 52 buses, making it a first for city schools. This satellitebased tracking system, installed in August, will be fully functional in a month’s time and enable both school authorities and school bus operators to track the buses. http://


US adopts new space policy

The US has adopted a tough new policy aimed at protecting its interests in space and denying “adversaries” access there for hostile purposes. The document – signed by President Bush – also says “freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power”. The document rejects any proposals to ban space weapons. But the White House has said the policy does not call for the development or deployment of weapons in space. The 10-page strategic document states that the US national security “is critically dependent upon space capabilities, and this dependence will grow”. “The United States will preserve its rights, capabilities, and freedom of action in space… and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to US national interests,” it says. The document also sets out US commercial ambitions, saying it is committed to encouraging and facilitating a growing entrepreneurial space sector. The new elements of the policy include using space support for homeland security, emphasizing and strengthening interagency partnerships, and renewing the emphasis on the value of mission success in the U.S. government’s space acquisition programs. It is the first revision in US space policy for 10 years. It addresses concerns voiced in a 2001 Pentagon report that said technological advances would enable potential enemies to disrupt orbiting US satellites. Unclassified details of the policy (http://www. Space%20Policy.pdf) published on the Internet say space capabilities, including spy and other communication satellites, are essential for national security.


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