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December 28, 2010

GPS Directorate Completes Annual AGER Review

The GPS Directorate completed its second Annual GPS Enterprise Review (AGER) on December 17, concluding that the program has achieved major milestones in developing and deploying modernized GPS capabilities.

Col. Bernard Gruber, GPS program director at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, led his team through a Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) review chaired by Frank Kendall, deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, and attended by other senior Department of Defense (DoD) officials.

December 17, 2010

China Adds Another IGSO Satellite to Compass/BeiDou-2 Constellation

China successfully launched the seventh BeiDou-2 satellite — the second inclined geostationary orbit (IGSO) — today (4 a.m., December 18 local time) from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province.

In 2010 China added five spacecraft to its constellation.

December 17, 2010

Rocket Manufacturer Blamed for GLONASS Launch Failure Due to Excess Fuel

The recent loss of three GLONASS-M satellites in space resulted from a series of mistakes made by the Russian Energia rocket corporation, the head of the Russian state commission probing the incident said today (December 17), according to the state news agency RIA-Novosti.

December 16, 2010

China Prepares for 7th Compass/BeiDou-2 Launch

China is preparing for launch of another satellite in its Compass/BeiDou-2 GNSS system in the "coming days," according to an unnamed spokesperson at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

According to earlier news reports, this will be the second of five inclined geosynchronous orbiting (IGSO) spacecraft planned for the regional version of the system that China hopes to complete by 2012. The full (Phase III) constellation will contain only three IGSOs.

December 6, 2010

GLONASS Triple Satellite Launch Suffers Rare Failure

A Proton rocket carrying three modernized GLONASS (GLONASS-M) satellites failed to reach orbit following its launch Sunday (December 5, 2010), falling into the Pacific Ocean.

The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) said that a special board had been established to investigate the event — rare for the GLONASS program — and "define next steps."

December 4, 2010

United States Appeals Courts Disagree on GPS Technology and Privacy Rights

Secret tracking using GPS may be simple, undetectable and cheap — but appeals courts can't decide if it's constitutional.

In 1791, when the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, it certainly seemed specific enough for the needs of the time. The new Americans were tired of colonial powers freely searching and seizing, with general warrants that were as full of holes as Swiss cheese.

December 1, 2010

European Space Council Backs Galileo; 2011 Funding Still Unresolved

While funding and technical issues continue to roil the waters at the program and operational level, Galileo and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) have received a strong reaffirmation of support from the highest levels of the European Union (EU) and the European Space Agency (ESA).

November 30, 2010

GPS Satellite Number 23 is 20 Years Old - And Counting

A 20-year-old GPS Block IIA satellite designated as space vehicle number 23 (SVN23) is setting new records in longevity among the durable spacecraft of the Global Positioning System.

Built by Boeing (formerly Rockwell Corporation) and launched on November 26, 1990, SVN23 has operated longer than any other GPS satellites — far exceeding its design life of 7.5 years.  Set healthy shortly after launch for navigation and timing use, the GPS Directorate (formerly GPS Wing) at Los Angeles Air Force Base predicts that the satellite will last another 12–18 months.

November 29, 2010

Tracking Santa and Father Frost: GPS or GLONASS

As GLONASS approaches completion, it’s no surprise that the Russian counterpart to GPS has gotten into more popular applications of GNSS technology — even Santa-tracking.

For more than 50 years, the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) has followed the travels of the Christmas gift-bearer from his North Pole headquarters. The Santa-tracking operation can be viewed online.

November 24, 2010

ION Releases New Volume in GPS 'Redbook' Series

The Institute of Navigation (ION) has released volume seven of its Global Positioning Systems Redbook, a collection of technical papers on integrated systems including — but not exclusively limited to — GPS.

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