U.S. Navy officer using a sextant

What would you do if suddenly GPS stopped working?

What you couldn’t do is use your phone to get directions to a store or for a road trip.  You couldn’t tell your cab or uber driver where to drop you off.  

U.S. Navy officer using a sextant
U.S. Navy officer using a sextant

It would put a damper on you live parts of your life, especially how you plan your travel.

What if your job was to navigate an aircraft carrier or airplane over the ocean?  That takes becomes a lot more difficult without GPS.  Which is precisely why the US Naval Academy has reintroduced celestial navigation in its course work.

While an inconvenience to most Americans, having the GPS system go down could be devastating to the Navy.  Concerned about cyberattacks that could essentially shut-down the GPS.  All of the GPS based systems are computer based programs meaning their is vulnerability to more and more sophisticated hacking.

So what is the Navy’s back-up plan if such an attack would be successful?

Navigating via the stats of course.

With GPS we are accustom to an accuracy of 3-6 feet.  So, how accurate is celestial navigation?

Still requiring a sextant, watch and a map like the explorers of yesteryear, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association says that a well-trained celestial navigator can quickly calculate accurately arriving at their destination within two minutes.

The Navy had stopped teaching celestial navigation in 1996 due to the efficiency of the GPS system.  Now the Navy is realizing that celestial navigation had one major advantage that could prove essential, security.  While it may not be pinpoint accuracy like GPS, no cyberattack can stop its use.