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February 2, 2012

OHB and SSTL Win Second Round of Contracts for 8 Galileo FOC Satellites

The European Space Agency (ESA) today (February 2, 2012) signed a contract to build a further eight Galileo satellites, alongside other agreements to modify Europe’s Ariane 5 launcher to carry four navigation satellites at a time.
The signing took place at the European Commission's center in London, England, in the presence of European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani and UK Universities and Science Minister David Willetts.

January 28, 2012

LightSquared GPS Interference Controversy: Senate Investigation Won’t End with FCC Decision

A Senate investigation into how the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) handled a request to rezone spectrum adjacent to GPS frequencies for LightSquared’s powerful wireless network will continue whether the FCC nixes the plan or not.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has been looking into whether the FCC fast-tracked its review of the Virginia firm’s proposal to build a 4G broadband network with signals that would be, tests now show, powerful enough to interfere dramatically with GPS receivers.

January 27, 2012

The Return of SVN49

In an effort to improve constellation sustainment, on or about Feb. 1, 2012, SVN-49 will resume transmitting an L-band signal using PRN24 as a test asset, according to the U.S. Air Force Space Command. Upon completion of the test event, SVN-49 will once again be decommissioned from active service.  PRN24 will then once again be available for future satellite service.

January 27, 2012

Big Solar Storm, Little GPS Effect

Although it was billed as the strongest for the past eight years and coincided nicely with the American Meteorological Society (AMS) annual meeting in New Oreans, this week’s solar storm apparently had a limited effect on GPS receivers and users.

January 26, 2012

DoD Strategic Guidance “Protects” GPS Modernization

GPS and other space systems fare well in the Department of Defense (DoD) strategic budget initiative outlined today (January 26, 2012) by U.S. civil and military officials.

The comments reflected policy decisions laid out in “Defense Budget Priorities and Choices,” an introduction to a strategic guidance intended to plot the course of the Pentagon over the next five years. Modernization of the Global Positioning System will be “protected” financially, according to the document.

January 25, 2012

Supreme Court Ruling on GPS-Aided Monitoring Leaves Issues Unresolved

A U.S. Supreme Court opinion released this week (January 23, 2012) ruled that warrantless GPS-aided monitoring of a suspect violated the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures."

But it will probably not be the court’s last word on the subject and may, in fact, provide Congress and state legislatures with enough incentive to address the subject more fully than they have to date.

January 13, 2012

DoD, DoT Deputy Secretaries Say No Practical Solutions Exist for LightSquared Interference to GPS

The president’s top advisors on navigation policy said today (January 13, 2012) that “no practical solutions or mitigation” would enable a proposed broadband network to co-exist near-term with GPS-based devices, including several systems needed for aviation safety.

January 13, 2012

Raytheon Gets New Contract for GPS OCX Launch and Checkout System

In the latest in a series of GPS modernization contracts, the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center has awarded Raytheon Company a $27.4 million contract to develop a GPS Launch and Checkout System (LCS), which will provide early launch and checkout of GPS III satellites starting with the first GPS III launch in 2014.

January 12, 2012

USAF Awards Lockheed Additional GPS IIIA Satellite Buy

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin a $238 million contract for production of the third and fourth satellites in the next-generation GPS constellation, known as GPS III.  The acquisition of the next two GPS IIIA satellites at one time will allow the Lockheed Martin-led team to maximize efficiencies in satellite manufacturing.

January 11, 2012

Lockheed Gains GPS III Launch & Checkout Contract

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin a $21.5-million contract to provide a launch and checkout capability (LCC) to command and control all GPS III satellites from launch through early on-orbit testing.

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