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September 18, 2014

Falling Prices Will Spur Innovation, Competition in High-Precision GNSS Market

The high-precision GNSS industry should expect to see industry consolidation and a scramble for new markets and innovations as prices for high-end chips and modules continue to slide, experts told attendees at a ION GNSS+ panel discussion in Tampa, Florida, last week (September 11, 2014).

The falling prices could strain R&D budgets, they noted, but could also create opportunity as high-end receivers come within reach of emerging industries like self-driving cars, unmanned aerial vehicles, and are even incorporated into consumer products.

September 18, 2014

GPS IIF-7 Successfully Launched; Signal Set Healthy

[Updated September 18, 2014] The U.S. Air Force set GPS satellite SVN-68/PRN-09, launched on August 2, to healthy and usable last night (September 17, 2014). This brings the number of satellites transmitting the L2C signal to 14 and those transmitting the L5 signal to 07. The next GPS-IIF satellite, IIF-8/SVN-69, is tentatively scheduled for launch on Oct 29.

September 16, 2014

Harold Martin Returns to PNT NCO as Director

Harold W. "Stormy" Martin III will be the new director of the National Coordination Office (NCO) for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT), the focal point for federal agencies working out GPS policy issues.

Martin was the deputy director of the NCO and an Air Force colonel until this summer when he retired from the military. He will succeed Jan Brecht-Clark, who retired at the end of 2013. His start date as director has not been set.

September 16, 2014

ESA Outlines Efforts to Rescue Wayward Galileo Satellites

The European Space Agency (ESA) released dramatic illustrations today (September 16, 2014) of the orbital locations of the two errant Galileo spacecraft launched on August 22, the intended orbit, and the locations of four In-Orbit Validation (IOV) satellites.

September 15, 2014

Gen. John E. Hyten Interview: New AFSPC Commander Takes a Look at the GNSS Future

As the new commander of Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) Gen. John E. Hyten is responsible for all the service’s space programs including the Global Positioning System.

September 15, 2014

GSA, Eurocontrol Agree to Cooperate on GNSS-Based Efforts to Improve Air Navigation

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) and Eurocontrol have signed a new cooperation agreement to jointly contribute to the implementation of European Union GNSS policies as they apply to the field of aviation.

September 15, 2014

Move to Allow GNSS-Interfering Pseudolites Emerges in Europe

Two European proposals to allow pseudolites in the protected frequencies used by GPS and Galileo could soon be adopted, creating a potential interference risk to GNSS receivers and hampering efforts to protect satellite navigation spectrum, experts say.

September 3, 2014

Air Force Weighs Switching to Multiyear GPS Procurements

The Air Force says it might ask Congress for permission to implement bigger buys of GPS satellites beginning in fiscal year 2016 (FY16) once it sorts out whether to drop Lockheed Martin as the GPS III prime contractor and switch to a different manufacturer for the navigation payload.

The department told Congress in a recent report on multiyear procurement (MYP) that while its current approach “allows the government the flexibility to adapt to a changing budget profile and constellation needs, it prevents the program from realizing savings that MYP could provide.”

September 3, 2014

Europe Presses Ahead with Galileo Probe, Program

An independent inquiry commission chaired by Peter Dubock, began its work on August 28, 2014, its task: establish the circumstances of the so-called “major anomaly” that resulted in two Galileo satellites being placed into incorrect orbits last week.

The inquiry commission will identify root causes and associated aggravating factors, offering recommendations to correct the problem(s) and to allow for a safe return to flight for Soyuz launchers from the Guiana Space Center.

August 29, 2014

RTCA Standards Committee Grapples with UAS Collision Avoidance Rules

Techniques to avoid aircraft collisions took center stage as aviation experts met in Washington this week to continue hammering out the standards essential to integrating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the nation’s skies.

The standards are being developed by RTCA Special Committee 228 (SC-228), one of the family of committees operating through RTCA, Inc., which develops consensus standard for aviation, which are then adopted and put into real-world practice by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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