Aerospace and Defense

July 26, 2009

Satellite Numbers Game

The recent GAO report and Government Oversight subcommittee hearing on GPS sustainability generated more heat than light, with some major news media outlets leaving the impression that the sky (or at least GPS satellites) would soon be falling.

Perhaps the only silver lining in the ensuing Chicken Little phenomenon was the crude measure it provided of just how familiar (but not necessarily knowledgeable) private citizens have become with GPS.

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July 23, 2009

U.S. House of Representatives Trims $97 Million from OCX Budget, Cites Contract Delays

(Updated 11 a.m. (PDT), includes additional details from the GPS Wing)

A $97.4-million reduction in the GPS program made by the U.S. House of Representatives would affect the modernization program for the operational control segment (OCX), not the GPS III satellite budget as reported earlier.

In adopting the action of its appropriations committee, the full House approved H.R. 3326, the Department of Defense (DoD) Fiscal Year 2010 (FY10) budget, on July 30. The bill was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 3. In its report on the bill, the House committee said it made the cuts because of contract delays in the OCX program.

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By Inside GNSS
July 21, 2009

ISRO Extends Raytheon Contract for GAGAN GPS Augmentation System

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has awarded a new $82 million contract to Raytheon Company to modernize the Indian air navigation system.

Raytheon will build the ground stations for the GPS-Aided Geosynchronous Augmented Navigation System (GAGAN), and the Indian Space Research Organization will provide the space segment and additional ground equipment. GAGAN will provide satellite-based navigation for civil aviation over Indian airspace and adjoining areas in south and east Asia.

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By Inside GNSS
July 8, 2009

Pendulum’s Adds Options for GPS-12 Portable Frequency Standard Family

Pendulum Instruments, Stockholm, Sweden, has introduced four new options for the company’s GPS-12 Portable Frequency Standard family.

First released in 2006, the GPS-12R, a portable GPS controlled rubidium Frequency Standard with battery backup power, supplies a variety of standard frequencies for general metrology (1, 5, and 10 MHz), base station test (13 MHz) and telecom (E1/T1 clock/data).

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By Inside GNSS
July 4, 2009

Making Sense of GPS Inter-Signal Corrections

Figure 1

The downloadable PDF (above) contains bonus material not available in the print edition. Appendices and other information on this subject is available at the bottom of the page.

The current version of the master GPS Interface Specification document (IS-GPS-200 Rev D March 2006) contains a new dual-frequency ionosphere correction algorithm that is to be used with the modernized GPS space vehicles (SVs) and their next-generation modernized GPS signals.

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June 16, 2009

ESA Signs Galileo IOV Launch, FOC Satellite Contracts

René Oosterlinck, ESA director of the Galileo Program and Navigation-related Activities (center), and Jean-Yves Le Gall, chairman and CEO Arianespace (left), sign the Galileo In-Orbit Validation Launch Services Contract in the ESA Pavilion at the Paris Air Show, Le Bourget. Paul Verhoef, programme manager of EU Satellite Navigation Programs at the European Commission. ESA photo — S. Corvaja, 2009

On June 15, the European Space Agency (ESA) signed contracts for launch services on the Galileo in-orbit validation (IOV) satellites as well as two additional contracts for “long lead items” needed to build the full operational capability (FOC) Galileo constellation of satellites.

The first contract, with Arianespace, will provide launch services for the four IOV Galileo satellites that will be placed in orbit by the end of 2010. Two Soyuz rockets, each carrying two Galileo spacecraft, will launch from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

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By Inside GNSS
June 4, 2009

Changes in Store for U.S. Military GPS Equipment Development and Acquisition

DAGR 2008. Rockwell Collins image

Development and acquisition of military GPS user equipment (MGUE) are taking on new dimensions across the board — institutionally, procedurally, and technologically.

Along the way, the changes could redefine relationships within the Department of Defense (DoD) and between the agency and industry.

At the agency level, a proposal is forthcoming to “stand up” a positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) user equipment joint program office (JPO) that would incorporate UE responsibilities (and budgets) now exercised by the GPS Wing (GPSW).

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By Inside GNSS
May 25, 2009

GAO Report on GPS Satellite Constellation Status: The Pushback

Two weeks after a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report warned of potential gaps in the GPS satellite constellation, reassurances from Department of Defense (DoD), U.S. Air Force, GPS program officials, and industry are slowly restoring calm to an anxious public.

Coupled with a May 7 congressional hearing (and subsequent media coverage) that fanned the flames, the report described scenarios — for instance a two-year setback in launching the first GPS III spacecraft — that could lead to deterioration in the quality of GPS service due to delays in building new generations of satellites and past program management problems. The news coverage drew primarily on the GAO report and prepared statements presented at the hearing and not on the much more interesting dialog with subcommittee members captured on video or on the assumptions and methodology underlying the constellation analysis.

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By Inside GNSS
May 21, 2009

New Leaders to Gather for First Obama-Era PNT ExCom Meeting

Mike Shaw, NCO Executive Director

A June 18 meeting of the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Executive Committee (ExCom) will bring together leaders of the Obama administration in the key interagency setting for GPS issues.

Established under a 2004 National Presidential Security Directive, the ExCom advises and coordinates federal departments and agencies on matters concerning the Global Positioning System and related systems. The deputy secretaries of defense and transportation and co-chair the committee, which includes equivalent-level members from seven other federal agencies.

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By Inside GNSS

GPS III Passes Preliminary Design Review

GPS IIIA. Lockheed Martin graphic

The Lockheed Martin team developing the next-generation GPS III satellites has successfully completed a major program milestone, the preliminary design review (PDR) conducted by the U.S. Air Force’s GPS Wing.

Underlining the importance placed on meeting a 2014 first-launch schedule, nearly 150 representatives from the GPS Wing and user communities, including representatives from the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Space Command, the Department of Transportation, and the Federal Aviation Agency participated in the four-day Space Vehicle PDR at Lockheed Martin Space Systems facilities in Newtown, Pennsylvania.

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By Inside GNSS
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