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February 10, 2016

Former GPS Adversary LightSquared Rebrands as Ligado Networks

LightSquared Inc. today (February 10, 2016) announced a change of name to Ligado Networks.
The Reston, Virginia–based company described the Ligado as “a new brand that signals the company’s future vision of deploying its mid-band spectrum to deliver next-generation connectivity while also conveying the company’s heritage as a network service operator providing satellite connectivity throughout the U.S. and Canada.”

February 8, 2016

Russia Launches First GLONASS-M in More Than a Year

In its first GLONASS-M launch in more than a year, Russia lifted a satellite into orbit yesterday (3:21 a.m. Moscow time, February 7, 2016) from the Pletsetsk Cosmodrome, after being postponed from December.

GLONASS-M #51 (GLONASS constellation designation #751) will replace a 10-year-old satellite (GC#714) that ceased operations last October in slot 17, orbital plane 3 of the constellation.

February 5, 2016

50th GPS Satellite, Last Block IIF Launches Successfully

The U.S. Air Force and its mission partners successfully launched the 12th Boeing-built GPS IIF satellite aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) from Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, at 8:38 a.m. EST today (February 5, 2016).

February 3, 2016

BBC, Chronos Report on Lengthy Disruptions Caused by GPS Timing Problem

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said yesterday (February 2, 2016) that the recent decommissioning of a GPS satellite led to difficulties for listeners receiving digital radio signals.

In a response to the reported issues, the BBC said: "The outages were caused by a rogue GPS satellite (SVN23), which was taken out of service in the evening of 26 January."

February 3, 2016

First GPS III Satellite Completes Operational ThermoVac Testing in Simulated Harsh Space Environment

Lockheed Martin announced today (February 3, 2016) that the first GPS III satellite successfully completed system-level Thermal Vacuum (TVAC) testing on December 23, validating the design of the entire assembled satellite.
TVAC is a rigorous test designed to prove a satellite’s integrity and operational capabilities by subjecting it to prolonged cycles of simulated space temperature extremes in a special depressurized chamber.

February 2, 2016

China Launches New MEO BeiDou Satellite; 18 More to Come by End of 2018

[Updated February 5, 2018] China successfully completed its first BeiDou launch of the year, lifting a new-generation satellite into orbit yesterday (February 1, 2016) and adding to its 17 operational spacecraft in the nation’s GNSS constellation.

The fifth of the new series, the middle-Earth-orbiting (MEO) satellite will join its four predecessors in testing inter-satellite crosslinks and a new navigation payload that will set the framework and technical standards for global coverage, according to the Xinhua state news agency.

January 29, 2016

Legislation to Stop U.S. Use of Russian Rocket Engines Could Affect GPS

If approved, legislation halting the use of a Russian rocket engine could force delays in the launch of U.S. military satellites, including, potentially, GPS III spacecraft planned for launch beginning next year.

The bill, introduced this week by Sen. John McCain R-Arizona, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, would ban the use of Russian RD-180 rocket engines for the evolved expendable launch vehicle program (EELV).

January 29, 2016

GPS Glitch Caused Outages, Fueled Arguments for Backup

Less than a month after Europe switched off most of its Loran transmitters, a problem with GPS satellite timing signal triggered alarms across the continent and caused an unknown number of outages, including the disruption of some features of critical infrastructure.

January 28, 2016

New ESA Chief Briefs Media, Hails Galileo Progress

ESA renewed its New Year’s tradition, briefing the news media on January 15 at the European Space Agency headquarters in Paris, with the agency’s new director general, Johann-Dietrich Wörner, presiding for the first time..  

The contrast with his predecessor, the well-liked Jean-Jacques Dordain, is clear but not stark. Wörner is a bit more whimsical than Dordain, but not too much. His presentation features a few more cartoons, he makes a few more jokes, and there is a picture of the Star Trek (Next Generation) crew to make us chuckle.  

January 28, 2016

GPS Experiences UTC Timing, IIF Satellite Launcher Problems

A couple of GPS anomalies struck yesterday (January 26, 2016), one systemic and the other delaying launch of the final Block IIF satellite.

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