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February 12, 2009

New Russian GLONASS Satellites in Operation

The last of three GLONASS satellites launched December 25 began broadcasting a healthy navigation signal today (February 12), according to the Russian Space Agency’s Information-Analytical Center, bringing Russia’s operational GNSS constellation to 20 spacecraft.

One satellite, space vehicle number (SVN) 701 launched more than five years ago, has been off-line and in “maintenance” status for the last month. Another spacecraft, SVN 722, is transmitting only in the GLONASS L1 band.

February 11, 2009

Lynn Approved as Deputy Secretary of Defense

Raytheon Corporation executive William Lynn received an overwhelming vote of approval today (February 11, 2009) from the U.S. Senate to become the U.S. deputy secretary of defense. The 93 to 4 vote — with only four Republicans in opposition — did not reflect the considerable controversy surrounding Lynn’s nomination by President Obama.

January 27, 2009

U.S. Agencies Publish 2008 Federal Radionavigation Plan

A 2008 version of the Federal Radionavigation Plan (FRP) has been published by the U.S. government, providing the latest documentation of the policy and plans for radionavigation systems used for positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) applications.

January 25, 2009

GNSS Providers Working Group to Discuss Compatibility, Interoperability

The International Committee on GNSS (ICG) working group on compatibility and interoperability will meet March 2 and 3 at “der Residenz” in Munich, Germany.

The meeting, which takes place immediately before the Munich Satellite Navigation Summit 2009, follows on the most recent gathering of the full ICG and Providers Forum in Pasadena, California, last month. (Presentations from that meeting can be found here.) The Munich discussions will focus on compatibility and interoperability issues and system/service characteristics, such as current and planned signals, system time and geodetic reference frame standards, performance standards and actual system performance, service provision policies, and deployment and operation timetables.

January 24, 2009

Gates Backs Lynn for Key Defense Post

(Updated Jan.26) President Barack Obama's nomination of William J. Lynn III, a senior vice-president at Raytheon Corporation, for deputy secretary of defense and his granting Lynn a waiver from the new administration's own rules on former lobbyists has provoked considerable criticism from some quarters.

As the number two official in the Department of Defense (DoD), Lynn would report directly to Robert Gates, the current secretary of defense who has continued in that position in the new administration, the only holdover from ex-President Bush's cabinet. Gates has come out strongly in support of Lynn, saying that he requested the waiver from the president.

Among other responsibilities, the deputy secretary serves as the co-chair of
the Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Executive
Committee (ExCom). Lynn would succeed Gordon England, who has paid a lot of attention to GPS during his term in office and enhanced the role of the PNT ExCom as an arbiter and advocate for the GPS program throughout the federal government.

January 19, 2009

China Aerospace Official Says Compass/Beidou Will Be Complete by 2015

An official with China's main space program contractor told China Central Television (CCTV) on January 18 that the country will complete a 30+ satellite Compass (Beidou) constellation by 2015.

January 5, 2009

Juliana Blackwell To Direct National Geodetic Survey, Oversee Spatial Reference System

Juliana P. Blackwell has taken up responsibilities as the new director of the National Geodetic Survey (NGS), where she will oversee the nation’s spatial reference system.

Blackwell takes up the post after serving for the past three years as chief of the NGS Observation and Analysis Division. She is the first woman to head the nation’s oldest federal science agency, established by President Thomas Jefferson in 1807 as the Survey of the Coast.

December 26, 2008

Russia Launches Three More GLONASS-M Space Vehicles

The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) successfully launched a Proton-M rocket and three GLONASS-M satellites at 10:53 a.m. (GMT) on December 25 from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan.

The spacecraft were placed into orbital plane 1 on the GLONASS constellation, where they will occupy slots 2, 3, and 8, according to the Roscosmos Information-Analytical Center.

December 23, 2008

International System Providers Meeting (ICG-3) Reflects GNSS’s Competing Interests, Cooperative Objectives

Representatives from the world’s GNSS system and augmentation providers spent a sun-laden week in Pasadena, California, recently, advancing aspirations for their separate enterprises while refining the basis for compatibility and interoperability among them.

December 18, 2008

European Space Agency Names Günter Hein to Galileo Post

The European Space Agency (ESA) has appointed Prof. Dr. Günter Hein to serve as Head of Galileo Operations and Evolution with duties in Noordwijk, Netherlands, and Paris, France.

With an initial four-year term beginning December 1, Hein will report directly to René Oosterlinck, ESA’s director of the Galileo program and navigation-related activities (D/GAL).

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