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March 20, 2013

Congress, States Proposes Bills on Location Privacy, UAVs

Congress is moving to limit the sharing of geolocation information.

The Online Communications and Geolocation Protection Act (HR 983), introduced on March 6, addresses a privacy loophole created by services like Gmail and social networking sites. Though law enforcement must get a warrant to access an archive of e-mail stored on your computer, the same protections do not exist for information voluntarily given to a third party.

March 20, 2013

Air Force Announces Plans for L2C, L5 CNAV Message Tests

The U.S. Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) invited comments today (March 20, 2013) on its proposed plans to test CNAV message capabilities on the GPS L2C and L5 signals June 15–29.

The signals are part of the GPS modernization program and will provide, among other things, greater capability for civilian users. The notice was posted in the official government Federal Register.

March 13, 2013

NavSAS, Septentrio Report Galileo IOV Positioning Results

Two European organizations announced successful positioning results yesterday (March 12, 2013) using signals from the four Galileo in-orbit validation (IOV) satellites.

The NavSAS group of Politecnico di Torino and Instituto Superiore Mario Boella in Turin, Italy, obtained its first Galileo autonomous position using signals from the Protoflight Model (PFM) and three Flight Model space vehicles (FM2, FM3, FM4), which have started transmitting valid navigation messages.

March 12, 2013

ESA Achieves First Galileo-Only 3D Position Fix

The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced a key milestone today (March 12, 2013) in the development of Europe’s GNSS program: the first determination of a ground location using the four Galileo satellites currently in orbit together with the system’s ground infrastructure.

This fundamental step confirms the Galileo system works as planned, according to ESA scientists.

March 1, 2013

The Sequester and Its GPS Discontents

Deep military spending cuts set to kick in March 1 will likely slow efforts to modernize the GPS constellation, insiders agree, in large part because many of the personnel needed to push the program forward will be sitting at home, unpaid, one day out of every five.

The human impact of the deep cuts taking effect when sequestration kicks in on Friday was already evident in mid-February during the program review conference held by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

February 28, 2013

Air Force Plans to Test Full Navigation Message on GPS L2C Signal

The Air Force will put the navigation message onto the civil L2C signal as part of a test it plans to conduct this summer, sources have told Inside GNSS.

The test will take place over a two-week period in June and will involve all of the satellites capable of broadcasting the signal.

February 28, 2013

GAO Report on Receiver Performance Invokes GPS LightSquared Controversy

A U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) study on receiver performance and increased availability to radio frequency spectrum reveals just how complicated the issue underlying the GPS/LightSquared controversy is.

On February 22, the GAO sent the report — entitled “Spectrum Management – Further Consideration of Options to Improve Receiver Performance Needed” — to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

February 28, 2013

Egos behind New EC-ESA Rift?

Speaking privately at the recent European Union (EU) Space Conference in Brussels, one individual said, “Relations between the European Commission (EC) and the European Space Agency (ESA) are worse than ever."

That would be very bad indeed, given the two bodies’ history of knocking heads.

And what’s at the center of this new rift? “It’s about power,” said this source, who would know.

February 28, 2013

Lockheed Powers Up First GPS III Satellite Module

Well, the lights work. So far, so good.

The Lockheed Martin team developing the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation GPS III satellites has turned on power to the system module of the program’s first spacecraft, designated GPS III Space Vehicle One (SV-1).

According to the prime contractor, the achievement is a key indication that the team is on track to deliver the first satellite for launch availability next year, although the actual first launch will probably take place in 2015.

February 19, 2013

PNT National Coordination Office to Focus on GPS Modernization, Spectrum, Signal Threats

With the urgent interference and patent controversies of the last two years largely resolved, the office tasked with helping sync the government’s GPS activities will take advantage of a lull in the action to plan a more strategic way forward — though that path does not currently appear to include talking to Congress about GPS civil funding.

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