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April 19, 2009

Congress, U.S. Trade Rep Seek Public Comment on Access to Galileo Markets

Prompted by a congressional footnote in the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act signed into law last month, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is soliciting public comment on American industry’s access to the Galileo program and related markets.

April 18, 2009

China Launches Second Compass (Beidou-2) Satellite in $1.46 Billion First Phase

Launch of a second modernized Compass (Beidou 2) satellite on April 14 — this one a geostationary spacecraft — marks the return of China to its GNSS launch program two years after the initial venture into space.

Designated Compass G2 — reflecting the geostationary nature of its intended orbital position about 22,300 miles above the equator, the satellite lifted off at 16:16 UTC aboard a Long March 3C rocket from the Xichang launch base in southwestern China's Sichuan province, according to China’s state news agency Xinhua.

April 10, 2009

Air Force Secures ITU Filing with GPS L5 Signal Transmission

The GPS IIR-20(M) satellite successfully transmitted for the first time a GPS signal in the L5 frequency band today (April 10), according to the U.S. Air Force operators of the Global Positioning System. L5, the third civil GPS signal, will eventually support safety-of-life applications for aviation and provide improved availability and accuracy to users.

April 9, 2009

GPS L5 Signal Goes on the Air April 10

U.S. Air Force officials are moving quickly to turn on the new civil GPS L5 signal after lengthy delays due to technical problems had brought the program close to an International Telecommunications Union (ITU) deadline for transmitting on the frequency.

The Air Force plans to begin transmitting the signal at 5 a.m. (PDT) on April 10 using the Block II R-20(M) satellite launched March 24. An L5 signal demonstration is planned the same day, organized by the GPS Wing and SRI International. The L5 spectrum will be received and plotted at the SRI’s 150-foot “big dish” antenna facility in the hills over looking Stanford University, California.

March 26, 2009

European Court of Auditors Lambastes Galileo Satellite Navigation Program

Here's an interesting document: Preliminary observations on “The management of the Galileo programme’s development and validation phase,” adopted at its January 21–22 meeting by the European Court of Auditors (ECA).

If you're the kind of person who wakes up in a strange room after a night on the town and wonders how you got there, you’ll want to take in the full 50-page report and six addenda.

March 24, 2009

GPS Satellite with L5 Payload Launches Successfully

GPS program managers and users — especially the U.S. civil aviation community — can breathe a sign of relief following the successful launch Tuesday (March 24) of a satellite carrying a demonstration payload of the new L5 signal.

Built by the Lockheed Martin Company, the modernized Block II replenishment spacecraft, GPS IIR-20(M), is moving toward plane B, slot 2 to replace space vehicle number (SVN) 30. If all goes well, U.S. Air Force controllers expect to set the satellite healthy for navigation users worldwide next month.

Among other signals and capabilities, the IIR-20(M) will be the first to transmit the new GPS civil signal centered on 1176.45MHz (±12 MHz) within the protected aeronautical radionavigation service (ARNS) band. This so-called L5 signal will provide a second safety-of-life signal that meets the technical requirements for enabling aircraft to make precision landings in high multipath environments.

March 23, 2009

GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Compass: What GNSS Race? What Competition

(This story appears in the "GNSS World" department in the March-April 2009 issue of Inside GNSS.)

Munich’s high-level satnav summit the first week in March opened with a plenary titled, “The Worldwide Race in GNSS” and closed with a panel, “The Competition among the Big Four.”

March 18, 2009

More Problems with GPS IIF; IIR-(20)M Is L5’s Plan B

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water . . .

Discovery of a power anomaly in signal generator of the first GPS Block IIF space vehicle (SV) has thrown a new wrinkle into the long-delayed follow-on generation of spacecraft.

Meanwhile, it’s all systems go (and all fingers crossed) for launch of a modernized Block IIR satellite IIR-20(M) with the demonstration L5 navigation payload designed to secure priority GPS access to the frequency.

March 6, 2009

Munich Summit Highlights Satellite Navigation Plans, GNSS Program Struggles


Highlights of the 2009 Munich Satellite Navigation Summit (March 3- 5):
Russia will place its first CDMA signal on the GLONASS L3 frequency that overlaps the European Galileo E5b spectrum; China plans to launch three Compass satellites this year and seven more next year to provide a regional capability for Compass/Beidou, followed by completion of the full 30-MEO, 5-GEO constellation after 2015 and before 2020; Galileo program discussions revealed tensions around negotiations with China about a frequency overlay of Compass signals on the security-oriented Public Regulated Service as well as the question of whether the costs to build Galileo can be kept within the €3.4-billion limit agreed by the European Council and the European Parliament; the GPS Block IIR-20(M) satellite with an L5 demonstration payload will be launched later this month in what may be the program's last chance to secure primary GPS access to the frequency.

March 4, 2009

FY 2010 Budget Outline Proposes to End Loran

Ready for another round?

President Obama appears to have weighed in on the long-running Loran/eLoran debate — on the side of terminating the terrestrial radionavigation system and, apparently, its enhanced version that had been proposed as a backup to GPS.

In a February 26 message to U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) members, Vice-Admiral V. S. Crea, USCG Vice Commandant and Chief Operating Officer, said the Fiscal Year 2010 (FY10) budget outlined in a document sent to Congress calls for termination of Loran-C in the coming year.

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