NASA Develops High-Accuracy Navigation System

NASA has developed a GPS system that provides navigation accuracy of 3 inches to the destination. The software and algorithms developed by NASA augment raw navigation signals, thus, improving the process of navigation. These signals are provided by the GPS satellites controlled by the US Air Force. Furthermore, such signals could be used for navigating emergency responders, airplanes, and self-driving cars.

Global positioning satellites have been operational for over four decades. The US Air Force deployed the first of these satellites in 1978. Furthermore, the Air Force has used GPS systems with a high level of dexterity to this date. However, NASA has also played an integral role in improving the GPS architecture. The wonders of this technology have transcended to the common masses through NASA’s rigorous efforts.

Fixing Inaccuracies in Positioning

GPS satellites are thousands of kilometres away from the earth. The large distance of their orbit from the earth creates scope for inaccuracy in navigation. For this reason, the signals are vulnerable to distortions and delays as they dissect through the atmosphere. Moreover, noise and positioning errors can also affect the accuracy of navigation. Therefore, navigation based on raw signals could be off by up to 30 feet. NASA fixes this inaccuracy with its Global Differential GPS (GDGPS) system. The system augments the power of the raw signals to convert them into more concrete sources of navigation. NASA used its expertise in decoding radio signals to effectuate the new system.

Growing Use of GDGPS

NASA is a key user of GDGPS systems, and receives funding from multiple sources. These entities include government bodies, commercial companies, and service providers. Reimbursement agreements have helped these companies in initiating funds to this end. Improved navigation technology has the potential to overhaul the growth of multiple industries. Hence, the GDGPS system is projected to become a vital part of the common navigation architecture.