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August 14, 2013

Homeland Security Opens New Round of Small UAS Evaluations

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will soon be taking new applications for its unmanned aircraft assessment program — a project that gives potential government customers at local, state, and federal levels an impartial evaluation of the strengths and costs of different systems.

August 14, 2013

State Officials Argue at AUVSI for Ban on Warrantless UAV Surveillance

Three key associations of state officials are recommending that states pass legislation banning the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance unless the person being tracked has given permission or a warrant has been issued.

The associations also recommended banning UAVs from carrying weapons and emphasizing in state laws that both UAVs and their smaller cousins, model aircraft, be operated in ways that do not “present a nuisance to people or property.”

August 10, 2013

LightSquared Investors Sue GPS Industry

[Updated August 15, 2013] Investors led by Harbinger Capital Partners have filed a $1.9 billion lawsuit against a trio of GPS receiver manufacturers  over LightSquared, a now bankrupt firm that still hopes to build a wireless broadband network across the United States.

August 7, 2013

Naval Observatory Rebuts Wall Street Journal Comments on Navy, Air Force Dispute over DoD Time-Keeping Role

A series of assertions in a recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article regarding putative dissension between the Air Force and Navy over responsibilities for precise timing — a key element in GPS operations — has drawn a pointed rebuttal from the superintendent of the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO).

July 31, 2013

Exit Interview: GPS Directorate’s Col. Bernie Gruber

Last month, USAF Col. Bernard Gruber stepped down after three years of running the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at Los Angeles Air Force Base.

The GPS Directorate, originally established in 1974 as the NAVSTAR GPS Joint Program Office, is responsible for development, acquisition, fielding and sustainment of all GPS space segments: the modernized operational control segment (OCX), the next-generation GPS III satellites, and modernized GPS user equipment (MGUE).

July 31, 2013

European Rail Industry Perspective on GNSS: Francesco Rispoli

I was sitting on a train recently and a guy said to me, “What does GPS have to do with trains? Trains run on tracks, don’t they? How can they get lost or go the wrong way?”

The fact is trains have all kinds of things to do with GNSS. Most important are safety-related applications, including satellite navigation as a means of precisely determining train position. Being able to anticipate approaching curves and bends is important for tilting trains, for example.

July 31, 2013

GPS Spoofing Experiment Knocks Ship off Course

In a startling experiment a research team from the University of Texas successfully spoofed a ship’s GPS-based navigation system sending the 213-foot yacht hundreds of yards off course — without raising alarms or triggering a hint of the course change on the onboard monitors.

July 30, 2013

FAA Approves Two UAS Type Certificates

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued restricted category type certificates to a pair of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), a milestone that will lead to the first approved commercial UAS operations later this summer.

Issuing the type certificates is an important step toward the FAA’s goal of integrating UAS into the nation’s airspace.  FAA officials announced the action last Friday (July 26, 2013).

July 25, 2013

Safety Board Says Connected Vehicle Technology Should Be Required to Prevent Collisions

In a Tuesday (July 23, 2013) hearing on two fatal school bus/truck collisions, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended adoption of “connected vehicle technology” on all newly manufactured highway vehicles as a way to reduce such accidents.

Such collision-avoidance systems — similar to those used in civil aviation — would typically depend on real-time transmissions of the GNSS-derived locations of nearby vehicles to provide enhanced “situational awareness” to drivers.

July 22, 2013

GPS III Prototype Arrives at Cape Canaveral

Lockheed Martin has delivered a full-sized, functional prototype of the next generation GPS satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The GPS III Non-Flight Satellite Testbed (GNST) arrived at the Cape on July 19 where it will be used to test facilities and pre-launch processes in advance of the arrival of the first GPS III flight satellites, which will undergo similar testing. The first flight GPS III satellite is expected to arrive at Cape Canaveral in 2014, ready for launch by the U.S. Air Force in 2015.

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