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July 8, 2008

First GIOVE-A/B Double Difference Observed

Researchers at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), the Netherlands, succeeded this week in simultaneously tracking the GIOVE-A and GIOVE-B L1 Open Service signals in space, producing the first reported computation of a double-difference carrier phase integer ambiguity resolution on the first two experimental Galileo satellites in orbit.

July 1, 2008

GPS IIF Satellite Advances Through Environmental Tests

The Boeing Company has announced completion of the latest in a series of environmental tests of the first of 12 GPS IIF satellites, which confirm the mechanical integrity of the spacecraft.

Having apparently overcome technical problems that have delayed the program for several years, the program is now on track to deliver the first satellite to the U.S. Air Force this year, according to the company, with launch currently scheduled for the first half of 2009.

July 1, 2008

ESA Opens Galileo Procurement: Let the Games Begin!

Today (July 1), the European Commission (EC) — with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA) — launched the procurement process for Galileo with an invitation to companies to submit requests for participation as prime contractors for six work packages (WPs) valued at €2.145 billion (US$3.39 billion).

June 20, 2008

Air Force Tanker Controversy May Influence Galileo Competition

A U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) assessment that the U.S. Air Force made “significant errors” in awarding a $35 billion contract for refueling tankers to a consortium including the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) may affect the prospects of foreign participation in development of the Galileo system.

June 9, 2008

Faulty Booster Component May Delay IIR-M Launches; L5 Signal Ready to Go

Suspected faulty components in a Delta II rocket are delaying the launch of the final two modernized GPS Block IIR satellites, possibly preventing the early broadcast of an L5 civil signal that faces a 2009 deadline for being on the air.

According to Air Force officials at the GPS Master Control Station, Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, and Patrick AFB near the Cape Canaveral launch site, the questionable component is the 40-second timer that triggers separation of the third stage booster from the GPS space vehicle. Affected are both the 20th Block IIR-M, which had been scheduled to launch this month with a civil L5 test signal enabled in the navigation payload, and GPS IIR-21.

May 16, 2008

Lockheed Martin Wins GPS IIIA Contract

A team led by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company has won U. S. Air Force approval to build the GPS Block IIIA satellites under a contract valued at up to $3.568 billion.

The long-delayed decision was announced May 15. The acquisition covers the first of three sets of Block III satellites currently scheduled to begin launching in 2014.

May 15, 2008

PNT Executive Committee Proposes Codeless/Semicodeless Transition Plan

GPS manufacturers and users who employ so-called codeless and semi-codeless techniques based on exploiting the L2 carrier phase of the military P(Y)-code signals may want to comment on a new proposal to ensure that capability through 2020.

May 13, 2008

Galileo's GIOVE -B Spacecraft Transmits Signals

Europe's second Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element (GIOVE-B) satellite began transmitting navigation signals on May 7, including the common GPS-Galileo civil signal MBOC (multiplexed binary offset carrier).

Built under a cooperation between the European Space Agency (ESA) and European Union (EU), GIOVE-B was launched April 27 from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The MBOC signal design will be used by the future GPS L1C broadcasts as well as the Galileo Open Service in accordance with an agreement drawn up in July 2007 between the EU and the United States.

Locked to an on-board passive hydrogen maser clock, the GIOVE-B signals will help improve positioning accuracy in challenging environments with multipath and interference as well as better penetration for indoor navigation.

April 30, 2008

Galileo’s Drama: Different Set, Additional Actors, a New Play for Europe's GNSS?

Passage of a new regulation on Galileo sets the stage for the next phase of the €3.4-billion satellite navigation system's development under a public procurement but leaves many details to be worked out among the key players: the European Commission (EC), the European Council, the European Parliament, and the European Space Agency (ESA).

Meeting in Strasbourg, France, the parliament adopted the measure on April 22 with 607 votes in favor, 36 votes against, and 8 abstentions.

“Things are looking up, finally, for the European GNSS programs,” Paul Verhoef, head of the Galileo unit in the EC’s Directorate-General for Transport and Energy, told an April 23 plenary session of the European Navigation Conference 2008 in Toulouse, France.

April 28, 2008

Russia Approves CDMA Signals for GLONASS, Discussing Common Signal Design

Nearly 30 years after the first launch of a GLONASS spacecraft, Russia is moving to add code division multiple access (CDMA) signals to the frequency division multiple access (FDMA) format that has set the world’s second-oldest global satellite navigation system apart from GPS and other systems under development.

A February 15, 2008, government decree on new GLONASS requirements calls for open CDMA signals with a binary offset carrier or BOC (2,2) signal structure centered at 1575.42 MHz and a BOC (4,4) signal centered at 1176.45 MHz — essentially corresponding to the center points of GPS signals at the L1 and L5 frequencies and nearby Galileo and Compass signals.

An additional GLONASS FDMA signal will be located at L3 frequencies (1197.648–1212.255 MHz), just below the GPS M-code at L2.

Russia will implement the new signals on the next-generation GLONASS-K satellites, with the first launch currently expected in late 2010 with flight testing the following year.

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