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May 24, 2016

Interview: ESA’s Galileo Director Paul Verhoef

Last February, Paul Verhoef took up the directorship of ESA’s Galileo Program and Navigation-related Activities, and he hasn’t had time to look back since. The successful launch on May 25 2016 of two more satellites is just one of many milestones stretching ahead of him.

May 24, 2016

Successful Launch Continues Build-Out of Galileo Constellation

The European GNSS program added two more spacecraft to its constellation this morning (May 24, 2016) with the launch of Galileo satellites 13 and 14. They lifted off together at 08:48 GMT (10:48 CEST, 05:48 local time) atop a Soyuz rocket from French Guiana.

This seventh Galileo launch went by the book: the first three Soyuz stages placed the satellites safely into low orbit, after which their Fregat upper stage hauled them the rest of the way into their target medium-altitude orbit in plane A, slots 2 and 6.

May 20, 2016

NovAtel Raises Concerns about Ligado Test Methodology, Results

NovAtel Inc. has submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding Ligado Networks LLC’s (formerly New LightSquared LLC) License Modification Applications in which the company raises deep concerns about the testing methodology used and conclusions presented by Ligado regarding the impact of their proposed usage of L-band frequencies for a terrestrial wireless network.

May 17, 2016

Senate Kills GPS OCX Funding Due to Cost Overruns — Now $5.3 Billion and Rising

The Senate Armed Services Committee zeroed out the Pentagon's $393 funding request for the new GPS ground control system during its May 11 markup, asserting that the program's cost overruns — with a total cost that may reach $5.3 billion, up from an original $1.5 billion — had breached the Nunn-McCurdy Act.

Under the act, such a breach could result in termination of the Next Generation Operational Control System or OCX unless the Secretary of Defense goes through an in-depth review of the program and personally certifies its critical importance.

May 17, 2016

Wireless Broadband Aspirant's Own GPS Receiver Tests Show Signal Impact

The results from the GPS receiver testing sponsored by would-be wireless broadband provider Ligado are in. A review of the nearly 600 pages of data and analysis suggests that a number of GPS receivers can — by the firm's chosen, but somewhat controversial technical standard — operate in the presence of the company's proposed wireless signals.

May 17, 2016

Russia Delays Launch of Next GLONASS Satellite

The Russian news agency TASS has reported that the launch of GLONASS-M satellite No. 53 from the Plesetsk cosmodrome has been rescheduled from May 21 to May 29, according to Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems CEO Nikolay Testoyedov.

The launch postponement has nothing to do with the satellite’s condition, Testoyedov said.

Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos announced earlier that a Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket was expected to bring a new Glonass-M satellite into orbit.

May 16, 2016

Obstacles Appear to Extending GPS-Based ADS-B for UAV Operations

The seeming efficiency of having unmanned aircraft carry the same GNSS-based collision avoidance transmitters required for manned aircraft has generated a lot of interest as a possibly safe way to easily integrate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into the nation’s air traffic control system.

May 6, 2016

SMC Announces Feasibility Assessment Contracts for Next Round of GPS III Satellite Competition

The USAF Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) announced today (May 5, 2016) the award of three contracts to support companies in preparing for the competition to build additional GPS Block III space vehicles (SVs).

The SMC’s GPS Directorate at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, will award one GPS III Phase 1 Production Readiness Feasibility Assessment contract to each of the following companies: Boeing Network and Space Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, and Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.

May 1, 2016

FCC Opens GPS-Adjacent Ligado Proposal for Comment

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is officially asking for feedback on a proposal by Ligado Networks to repurpose frequencies near the GPS band for a terrestrial broadband network. The long-delayed public notice and comment period is a step in the approval process, although there is no assurance that Ligado's plan for a new wireless service — which may still cause interference to GPS receivers — will get the go-ahead.

April 29, 2016

India Completes IRNSS Constellation

Yesterday (April 28, 2016) the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully launched the seventh and final spacecraft for the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS). The satellite, IRNSS-1G, was placed into orbit by a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C33).

According to ISRO, the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, watched the launch and “heartily thanked and congratulated” all the scientists and ISRO team for completing the IRNSS constellation, which he dedicated to the nation as “NavIC” (Navigation Indian Constellation).

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