Loran Gets Reprieve; Solar Flares Interrupt GPS

 - April 10, 2007, 11:22 AM

Although the decision has not yet been officially announced, AIN has learned the Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security have agreed that loran should continue operating for the foreseeable future. Key influences were the unanimous endorsement by an independent panel of experts convened by the agencies, plus the overwhelming positive response to an earlier public survey regarding the system’s continuance. Possibly cementing the program’s future were two intense, but unforecast, solar eruptions in December. Scientists at last month’s Space Weather Enterprise Forum in Washington, D.C. said one of them “produced 20,000 times more radio emissions than the entire rest of the sun, enough to swamp GPS receivers over the entire sunlit side of Earth.” Unusually, even the more robust WAAS signals were affected. Loran advocates have long proposed the system as a necessary backup during GPS outages.