September 23, 2020
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The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy is asking via a Federal Register notice for stakeholder input to help form a national plan aimed at boosting the resiliency of satellite-based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing or PNT systems.

[Official White House photo above by Andrea Hanks.]

The Federal Register notice added that this national plan will focus on the research and development and pilot testing needed to develop additional PNT systems and services that are resilient to interference and manipulation and that are not dependent upon global navigation satellite systems or GNSS.

Graphic by NASA

According to the White House, PNT systems have become an “invisible utility” that is integral to and enables a wide array of applications such as financial transactions, synchronization of power networks, and the precision landing approaches of aircraft.

They are currently provided or augmented by a number of terrestrial and space-based systems, with the most notable and widely used being the Global Positioning System (GPS).

The issue is that satellite-based platforms, such as GPS, provide global coverage but at great distances and with low signal intensity, which can be more easily interfered with at the local level by natural phenomena and by technological means both intentional and unintentional

According to the notice, this national plan is also being crafted in accordance with Executive Order 13905 issued by President Trump in February; an order that seeks to ensure that the nation’s critical infrastructure can withstand disruption or manipulation of PNT services while developing “technological alternatives” that are not dependent on GNSS.

editor@aashto.org

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