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July 16, 2011

Successful Launch for Second GPS Block IIF Satellite

[updated July 16] Boeing has received the first on-orbit signals from the second of 12 GPS Block IIF satellites it is building for the U.S. Air Force. GPS IIF-2, renamed Space Vehicle Number 63 (SVN-63), is functioning normally and ready to begin on-orbit maneuvers and operational testing.

After two postponements, the second  GPS Block IIF satellite launched successfully from Cape Canaveral at 2:41 a.m. EDT on July 16. A video of the launch was posted on YouTube and can be viewed here.

July 8, 2011

NTIA Asks FCC to Delay LightSquared Rollout

[Updated July 9, 2011] The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on July 6 asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to hold off on allowing LightSquared to begin commercial operations, pending further evaluation of the cellular broadband system’s interference to GPS.

July 5, 2011

Lockheed Martin Team Completes GPS IIIB System Design Review

Lockheed Martin has announced the successful, on-schedule completion of a system design review (SDR) for the second-phase of next-generation GPS satellite development, the IIIB increment.

The company’s Space Systems division in Newtown, Pennsylvania, is under contract to produce the first two of a planned eight GPS IIIA satellites, with first launch projected for 2014. The contract includes a Capability Insertion Program (CIP) designed to mature technologies and perform rigorous systems engineering for future GPS III increments.

July 2, 2011

FCC Invites Comment on LightSquared Interference to GPS

Individuals and organizations wishing to comment on the recently released technical working group (TWG) report on LightSquared’s interference to GPS as well as the company’s proposal for dealing with the problem have until July 30 to submit statements to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

In a release dated June 30, the agency noted that the TWG effort “identified significant technical issues” related to potential LightSquared interference in the upper portion of the L-Band, next to the band used by GPS.

July 1, 2011

LightSquared GPS Interference Report and Recommendation to FCC Fuels the Fight

LightSquared submitted a 318-page report to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) yesterday (June 30, 2011) on the months-long effort of a technical working group (TWG) to investigate the effects of the would-be cellular broadband company’s terrestrial transmitters on GPS receivers operating in an adjacent RF band.

June 28, 2011

U.S. Supreme Court to Weigh In on GPS Surveillance and the Fourth Amendment

On June 27, the Supreme Court decided to accept a 2005 Washington D.C. warrantless tracking case that illustrates how confusing GPS satellite positioning and the new technologies that follow, sense and link us are to judges and public alike. The case, United States v. Jones, will probably be heard during the October 2011 term.

June 25, 2011

Senate Proposals for GPS Receiver Standards Won't Solve LightSquared Issue

The Senate is considering establishment of receiver standards as part of a wide-ranging effort to find more frequencies for wireless broadband services, a move that could ultimately result in expensive new requirements for the GPS community.

June 25, 2011

Intermodulation Effects: Another Perspective on LightSquared Interference to GPS

Much of the research into the possible effects of the planned LightSquared cellular broadband transmissions near the GPS L1 band have focused on the saturation of the front end of GPS receivers caused by the high power of the terrestrial LightSquared base stations. In this article, an engineer with a long history in broadcast digital television takes a look at the likely effects on GPS receivers of third-order intermodulation products created by the LightSquared signals.

June 24, 2011

Appropriators Cut $98 Million from FY12 GPS Program, Add $40 Million for Block IIF

The House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12) Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R.2219) on June 14, cutting funds from the next-generation GPS space (GPS III) and operational control (OCX) segments, while adding money to the current GPS IIF satellite allocation.

June 24, 2011

LightSquared Lays Out New GPS Plan for Skeptical House Members

Would-be cellular broadband company LightSquared promised a Congressional subcommittee Thursday (June 23, 2011) that it would scale back its proposed wireless system and help pay to find a way to mitigate the network’s adverse effects on users of the Global Positioning System.

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