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June 14, 2010

ITT Passes GPS III Nav Component CDR

ITT Corporation has announced that it passed a key milestone last month with successful completion of the critical design review (CDR) for the Mission Data Unit (MDU) the company is developing as part of the navigation payload for the U.S. Air Force’s GPS III program.

June 10, 2010

DLR, Stanford Track First GPS IIF Signals; Tests Begin on L5

[Updated June 10] The U.S. Air Force announced today (June 10) that it has begun
testing the new operational L5 signal transmitted by the first GPS IIF satellite (space vehicle 1 or SV1 — designated SVN-62 in the overall GPS system), which was launched May 27.

On June 7, 2010, a team of experts from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Stanford University in California reported results of their tracking of the first navigation signals from the satellite, the pseudorandom noise code 25 (PRN25) on L1 and L2 — C/A and P(Y).

June 6, 2010

Behind the GPS IIF Launch: A Long and Winding Road

Last week’s launch of the first GPS Block IIF illustrates the changes that have occurred not only with the  pioneering U.S. GNSS program but also with the nation’s aerospace industry since the Global Positioning System initiative was launched 36 years ago.

June 6, 2010

GNSS to Star in FAA's NextGen Air Traffic System

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) accelerated its move toward a Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) with contracts awarded to Boeing, General Dynamics and ITT on May 26 and performance requirements for aircraft tracking equipment announced May 28.

NextGen, to be completed by 2025, will rely heavily upon GNSS to increase capacity, efficiency, and safety in the National Air Space (NAS) while reducing adverse environmental effects.

Thinking Aloud • June 2010

Deselecting Unavailability

Only a decade ago, but a world away: 2000.

The last year of the old century that everyone thought was the first of the new.

When flying was still a delight, rather than a worrisome bother.

When the expected — a global Y2K bug–bitten IT meltdown — didn’t happen, and the much-anticipated but still-unexpected did: the United States turned off GPS selective availability.

Ventures • May 29, 2010

Trimble and Russian Space Systems Form Joint Venture for Geodetic Infrastructure

Trimble and Russian Space Systems have announced that they have signed a definitive agreement to form a 50/50 joint venture that will be based in Moscow.

Rusnavgeoset will be responsible for selling commercial GNSS geodetic network infrastructure systems localized for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

May 28, 2010

GPS IIF: Up at Last!

Boeing announced today (May 28) that it has acquired the first on-orbit signals from the first GPS Block IIF satellite, the inaugural spacecraft in a 12-satellite block that the company is building. The signals indicate that the spacecraft bus is functioning normally and ready to begin orbital maneuvers and operational testing.

The satellite was launched May 27 on its fourth attempt aboard a Delta IV rocket at 11:00 (EDT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. At 2:33 a.m. today, the satellite separated from the rocket's upper stage, and a ground station on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean received the first signals from the newest member of the Air Force's GPS satellite constellation, according to Boeing.

May 26, 2010

Is GPS Vulnerability Leading the U.S. Towards a More Cooperative Space Posture?

As the United States enters a season of crucial Department of Defense (DoD) policy reviews, GPS may be riding the wave or caught in the ebb tide, depending on how one reads the signs. But a softer line toward cooperative efforts on GNSS may be emerging, if only because of concerns about U.S. dependence on a potentially vulnerable system.

The Quadrennial Defense Review, the Space Posture Review, and program objective memorandums (POMs) that will span fiscal 2012-2016 all are in process. Meanwhile, DoD is pushing for reform of export controls, which have frequently constrained the ability of dual-use technologies such as GPS equipment and expertise to be exported profitably and in a timely manner.

May 25, 2010

IIF SV1 Launch: Cancellation No. 4 and Counting

(UPDATED May 25) The next launch attempt of the first GPS IIF space vehicle (SV1)  has been tentatively set at Cape Canaveral for Thursday, May 27, when the launch window will be 11-11:19 p.m. EDT.

Originally scheduled for May 20, the launch was delayed several times. The fourth launch attempt  was scrubbed Sunday night.

May 24, 2010

GPS Block IIF: A Third Cancellation

The third time wasn't the charm for an attempted first launch of a GPS follow-on (Block IIF) generation of satellites.

Problems with ground support equipment and then with the telemetry signal between the spacecraft and the ground equipment have delayed initial launch of the new-generation satellite three times in the last four days.

Originally scheduled for May 20, the launch was postponed again on May 21 and May 23. Mission controllers hope to get the IIF off the ground on May 24.

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