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June 6, 2014

FCC Workshop on GPS Receivers Alarms GNSS Community

Leading navigation experts are worried an upcoming workshop on GPS receivers being organized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an attempt to initiate design mandates for user equipment that could potentially undermine the GNSS community.

“There is currently planned an FCC workshop that is going to, among other things, address certification and standards for receivers,” said Brad Parkinson, the acting chair of the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Advisory Board and a former chief of the NAVSTAR GPS Joint Program Office.

June 4, 2014

FAA to Consider Exemptions for Commercial UAS Operations for Movie and TV Production

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced this week that seven aerial photo and video production companies have asked for regulatory exemptions that would allow the film and television industry to use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) with FAA approval for the first time.

May 31, 2014

U.S. Eases Export Regulations for GPS Receivers

The U.S. government is set to ease its export rules for space-related and high-speed GPS receivers, moving many such devices out from under the stricter control of the State Department to the portfolio regulated by the Commerce Department, which already oversees the export of civil GPS receivers.

“It’s definitely a move in the right direction,” said one GPS expert.

May 31, 2014

GPS IRT Shuffled, Shrunk in Budget Squeeze

The GPS Independent Review Team (IRT), a key player in GPS policy for nearly 20 years, has been disbanded by the Air Force in what several sources say is an effort to save money.

Created in 1997 for a temporary three-month assignment, the IRT has been instrumental in shaping the current GPS constellation including designing military’s M-code — giving the signal its distinctive two humps — and pushing to get that signal into the constellation earlier than initially planned.

May 21, 2014

China Plans to Complete BeiDou Ahead of Schedule

China’s BeiDou will accelerate the pace of its development, even as the world’s other three GNSS systems are experiencing delays and difficulties, according to speakers in the opening session of the China Satellite Navigation Conference (CSNC 2014) today (May 21) in Nanjing.

May 20, 2014

FAA UAV Exemption Process Is in Place, Though Perhaps Imperfect

Companies hungry to offer commercial services in the United States with unmanned aircraft finally have something to chew on.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has laid out a process whereby a carefully selected set of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) may be granted an exemption to do for-pay flights before the first broad rules for U.S. flying unmanned aircraft are finalized.

May 20, 2014

Danish GPS Expert to Lead New Russian GNSS Studies Program

Samara State Aerospace University (SSAU), Russian Federation, will launch an English-language program in GNSS studies this fall, headed by Kai Borre, founder of the Danish GPS Center (DGC) and long-time professor of geodesy at Aalborg University.

May 19, 2014

GNSS for Emergency 112 Mobile Caller Location in Europe

Europeans agree — assisted GNSS or A-GNSS provides the best means for locating emergency callers using mobile phones. Although the question of who should pay is remains to be answered, new regulations aimed at enabling the service now seem inevitable.

May 19, 2014

Flawed GPS Signal Processing Design Cited as Cause of Receiver Problems

Widespread reports of intermittent GPS receiver outages may well end this week as the U.S. Air Force wraps up an “extended navigation mode” functional checkout of a GPS satellite, designated Space Vehicle Number (SVN) 64, a Block IIF spacecraft launched in February.

The problem affects only user equipment that erroneously uses navigation message data from the  satellites, which had yet to be set "healthy."

May 18, 2014

Lawmaker: No Prospect of Federal Funding for FAA UAS Test Ranges

No federal funding is available nor will there be for the six test ranges chosen to help integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace, a key lawmaker told attendees at a prominent conference on unmanned systems.

“I don’t see Congress doing that [providing money for the ranges],” said Frank LoBiondo, R–New Jersey, the chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee in response to a question during an Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI 2014) conference in Orlando, Florida, last week.

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