Spire constellation helps detect GPS jamming in space

March 29, 2022  - By
Image: Spire Global

Image: Spire Global

Spire Global Inc., a provider of space-based data, analytics and space services, is using its constellation of about 40 geolocation satellites to detect GPS jamming. Spire is collecting data for use by the U.S. Space Force, a particularly important task in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“All of our fellow space companies… everyone is playing a vital role for humanity in this battle for freedom and democracy,” Spire CEO Peter Platzer told analysts March 9 in an earnings call, according to Space News.

In September 2021, Spire won a contract to supply Slingshot Aerospace with GPS telemetry data. Slingshot’s pLEO Data Exploitation and Enhanced Processing (DEEP) prototype will automate manual data exploitation techniques to deliver intuitive, easily digestible data products at low latencies for military operations.

The DEEP prototype contract is funded through the the Commercially Augmented Space Inter-Networked Operations (CASINO) program of the Space Systems Command (SSC), which develops and demonstrates the military utility of proliferated LEO satellite architectures.

Identifying and mitigating ground-based radio-frequency (RF) and GPS interferences is a critical component of national security and U.S. Space Force operations. RF signals intercepted in open airspace are liabilities that directly threaten on-orbit space assets and military missions.

Even in the absence of enemy interference and intentional jamming, RF signals from radio stations, cell phones, and various electronics cause interruptions and interferences — a problem exacerbated by the growth of modern communications technology.

The DEEP prototype is an effort by the U.S. military to take advantage of existing commercial satellite telemetry data to readily identify these sources of interference and correct any potential problems before they become a threat.

Spire’s cubesats use GPS radio occultation, a remote sensing technique that measures properties of the Earth’s atmosphere from space.