GNSS Alternative Project May Lessen Reliance on Critical Asset

The European Space Agency awarded Spire Global a three year, $18 million contract to demonstrate a time-difference of arrival based GNSS alternative for aircraft. The project is motivated by a plethora of GPS jamming attacks deployed during the Russia-Ukraine conflict that “disrupted civilian air traffic…[that necessitated] rerouting that causes delays and increases fuel burn”.

Alternatives to open GPS waveforms include military, resilient waveforms such as M-code, alternate regional GNSS networks, or GNSS alternatives such as Spire’s Eurialo. From a cybersecurity perspective, GPS jamming is a traditional attack on the space and link segment to interrupt end users. It can focus on eliminating the source of the GPS navigation message at the satellite which is difficult to do or focus on jamming to override the data sent to end users (more palatable). The Eurialo project hopes to alleviate the dependency on GPS source or rebroadcast towers by implementing TDOA based geolocation with a new network of LEO satellites.

This project must consider new types of cybersecurity threats such as new attacks on the proposed proliferated LEO constellation or on implementing resilient mesh networking as demonstrated by companies such as Anduril. This will help define the viability of the GPS alternative and maximize the overall future value of the Eurialo project.