Microcosm has extensive experience in supporting GPS mission and system engineering activities, including a current Phase I SBIR contract with the U.S. Air Force entitled “Flexible, Expandable Architecture for Next Generation GPS.” In the current program, Microcosm proposes a new GPS architecture that is both flexible and expandable to be able to adapt to advancing technology and changing needs, such as the need to work in the presence of man-made interference, challenging terrain, or urban canyons. Combining the potential for extensive on-board and user-equipment processing, asymmetric coverage, spot beams for local signal enhancement, and the intelligent use of external information (as done with smartphones), the system can provide:

  • Substantial reduction in sustainment cost
  • Enhanced signal security
  • Greater robustness
  • Reduced time to first fix (TTFF)
  • Enhanced accuracy
  • Enhanced performance in “urban canyons”
  • Reduced jammer susceptibility

In addition, the system can be easily modified or expanded to meet evolving needs and capabilities. Phase I will quantify the expected cost and performance and create an implementation plan for creating “GPS for the 21st century.”

GPS Constellation Full View

3 years prior to the first GPS Block IIR satellite being launched, Microcosm carried out a study for the GPS program office at Los Angeles Air Force Base called “GPS Utility Analysis and System Acquisition Inputs.

The scope of this activity included a review of the GPS system specification, acquisition plan, and mission objectives with the principal goal of determining how to achieve substantial cost reductions in the acquisition of the GPS follow-on.  The principal conclusion of that study was that the goal of the GPS system should be to deliver an appropriate navigation signal at the surface of the Earth with the specified availability, integrity, and survivability at the lowest possible cost.  Changes in the system are possible that should permit significantly reduced annual cost.

Microcosm continues to pursue options for creating a more reliable, lower cost GPS system architecture that will serve the evolving needs of the warfighter well into the 21st century.