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February 2, 2016

China Launches New MEO BeiDou Satellite; 18 More to Come by End of 2018

[Updated February 5, 2016] China successfully completed its first BeiDou launch of the year, lifting a new-generation satellite into orbit yesterday (February 1, 2016) and adding to its 17 operational spacecraft in the nation’s GNSS constellation.

The fifth of the new series, the middle-Earth-orbiting (MEO) satellite will join its four predecessors in testing inter-satellite crosslinks and a new navigation payload that will set the framework and technical standards for global coverage, according to the Xinhua state news agency.

January 29, 2016

Legislation to Stop U.S. Use of Russian Rocket Engines Could Affect GPS

If approved, legislation halting the use of a Russian rocket engine could force delays in the launch of U.S. military satellites, including, potentially, GPS III spacecraft planned for launch beginning next year.

The bill, introduced this week by Sen. John McCain R-Arizona, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, would ban the use of Russian RD-180 rocket engines for the evolved expendable launch vehicle program (EELV).

January 29, 2016

GPS Glitch Caused Outages, Fueled Arguments for Backup

Less than a month after Europe switched off most of its Loran transmitters, a problem with GPS satellite timing signal triggered alarms across the continent and caused an unknown number of outages, including the disruption of some features of critical infrastructure.

January 28, 2016

New ESA Chief Briefs Media, Hails Galileo Progress

ESA renewed its New Year’s tradition, briefing the news media on January 15 at the European Space Agency headquarters in Paris, with the agency’s new director general, Johann-Dietrich Wörner, presiding for the first time..  

The contrast with his predecessor, the well-liked Jean-Jacques Dordain, is clear but not stark. Wörner is a bit more whimsical than Dordain, but not too much. His presentation features a few more cartoons, he makes a few more jokes, and there is a picture of the Star Trek (Next Generation) crew to make us chuckle.  

January 28, 2016

GPS Experiences UTC Timing, IIF Satellite Launcher Problems

A couple of GPS anomalies struck yesterday (January 26, 2016), one systemic and the other delaying launch of the final Block IIF satellite.

January 21, 2016

Feds Reach Out to Small Companies for GPS Innovations

The federal government is looking to small firms to help solve some of its toughest GPS-related technology problems with many of the projects focusing on countering jamming while others endeavor to simplify signal acquisition and improve links within the constellation. A recent spate of requests for proposals for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts have been released by various agencies. These include the following:

January 15, 2016

LightSquared Seeks FCC Approval for GPS ‘Coexistence’ Plan

Having settled its lawsuits against a trio of GPS receiver manufacturers, would-be broadband provider New LightSquared is now pointing to those settlements to support its assertion that it is fully addressing GPS interference issues.

January 15, 2016

GNSS Satellites Fill Launch Manifest

It will be a busy few weeks for GNSS satellite launches in January and February.

Up next is the Wednesday (January 20, 2016) is a launch of the fifth spacecraft for the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).  The Indian Space Research Organization plans to complete the IRNSS constellation with two additional launches in February and March.

January 14, 2016

GPS-Aided Positive Train Control Goes Back on Transportation Safety Board's Most Wanted List for 2016

Once again, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended GPS-aided positive train control (PTC) as one of its “most wanted” transportation safety improvements in 2016. But the agency, which has been advocating for PTC for more than 45 years, appears to be fighting an uphill battle against Congress and the railroad industry.

January 8, 2016

Directorate Releases GPS III Phase 1 Vendor Feasibility RFP

The GPS Directorate at the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) released a request for proposals today (January 8, 2016) seeking proposals for the GPS III Space Vehicles 11+ Phase 1 Production Readiness Feasibility Assessment contract.

ESNC 2016
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