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December 15, 2014

8th GPS IIF Satellite Begins Transmitting Nav Signals

[Updated December 15, 2014] The eighth GPS Block IIF navigation satellite launched on October 29 has completed its operational checkout and was set to healthy and usable on Friday (December 12, 2014). This brings the number of satellites transmitting the L2C signal to 15 and those transmitting the L5 signal to 8.  The next GPS-IIF satellite, IIF-9/SVN-70 is tentatively scheduled for launch in March of 2015.

December 8, 2014

Canada Eases Rules for Commercial Unmanned Flights; UAV Mischief Mounts in U.S.

Canada has lifted a key filing requirement on professional drone operators, allowing firms flying small, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to conduct for-profit flights without prior approval as long as they follow a lengthy set of rules and obtain insurance.

December 3, 2014

Galileo Satellite Recovered, Transmitting Navigation Messages

Europe's fifth Galileo satellite, one of two delivered into a wrong orbit by a Russian Soyuz-Fregat launcher in August, transmitted its first navigation signal in space on Saturday (November 29, 2014) after reaching its new target orbit.

According to the European Space Agency (ESA), a detailed test campaign is under way now the satellite has reached a more suitable orbit for navigation purposes.

December 2, 2014

2nd GLONASS-K1 Finally Reaches Space

Russia launched the second and final GLONASS-K1 flight-test satellite on Sunday (November 30, 2014) from the Plesetsk cosmodrome on board a Soyuz 2-1B rocket.

Built by ISS-Reshetnev, the satellite broadcasts five navigation signals in three frequency bands – L1, L2 and L3. A civil CDMA signal is among those to be transmitted in the L3 band. The spacecraft also carries new equipment to support the international search and rescue system COSPAS-SARSAT: a payload that can relay signals from users in distress.

November 28, 2014

Funding at Risk as Work on UAV Standards Falls Behind

Efforts to set aviation standards for larger unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have fallen behind schedule, threatening essential funding for related tests and possibly complicating an Air Force program that needs the standards to make technology choices.

The schedule is slipping because initial estimates of the work involved in setting the  standards for detect-and-avoid (DAA) technology did not fully capture the complexity and extent of the effort necessary. DAA technology is intended to

November 28, 2014

Witnesses: FAA Funding Problems at the Heart of NextGen Problems

Lawmakers meeting to examine reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the agency’s work on the GNSS- and satellite-based, next-generation air traffic system (NextGen) weathered a scathing critique of their own efforts — particularly their work on the federal budget.

November 21, 2014

Unmanned Innovations Top DoD Wish List

The U.S. Defense Department (DoD) is launching a search for innovative technologies to help U.S. forces to maintain their advantage in the face of gains by potential adversaries, tighter budgets, and an increasingly complex landscape of security challenges.

At the top of the agency’s wish list are advances related to unmanned systems, including miniaturization and robotics as well as systems that can operate more autonomously.

November 21, 2014

Unmanned Exemptions Requests Pile Up, NTSB Backs Commercial UAS Restrictions

The number of special requests to fly unmanned aircraft commercially has surpassed 130 as firms search for a way around a federal ban on for-pay flights. The new numbers came to light the same day a court decision underscored regulators’ authority to rein in the industry with restrictions unlikely to be lifted until new rules are put in place years from now.

November 20, 2014

New Technology Could Enable UAVs to Fly Vertically

Imagine an unmanned multi-copter that doesn’t just fly horizontally, but that has the capability to fly vertically as well.

This UAV would have the ability to transition from the horizontal orientation most rotor drones fly in, and rotate its body to a vertical orientation, offering access to tight and irregular spaces conventional drones just can’t reach—a capability that could drastically improve search and rescue efforts in collapsed buildings.

November 20, 2014

Using Unmanned Systems to Fight Wildfires

Large wildfires can create their own weather and a dynamic, uncertain environment, and that is one of the reasons they’re so dangerous, says Manish Kumar, an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Toledo.

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