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August 24, 2008

Agricultural and Energy Prices Driving GNSS Products and Services

From the perspective of consumers, the yearlong rise in commodity prices — from oil and natural gas to corn and wheat — has clouded the economic outlook. But for producers, including many GNSS manufacturers and service providers, those clouds have silver linings.

Recent financial reports from companies active in agricultural and natural resource markets bear this out. GNSS products used to guide and control equipment are in heavy demand as are real-time differential correction services, particularly those using global satellite-based systems.

August 1, 2008

GIOVE-B Signal Observations Confirm MBOC's Multipath Advantage

Initial results from observations of the Galileo GIOVE-B satellite conducted by researchers at the European Space Agency (ESA) and Septentrio Satellite Navigation indicate that the multiplex binary offset carrier (MBOC) modulation outperforms the BOC(1,1) modulation on the L1 (data + pilot channels) frequency in mitigating the effects of multipath or reflected signals.

July 31, 2008

Air Force Hopes for November, December Launches of Final GPS IIR-Ms

UPDATED SEPTEMBER 10 2008: With replacement parts currently being manufactured for faulty components that have delayed launch plans, Air Force GPS program managers hope to get the final two modernized Block IIR satellites on orbit by the end of the year.

A tentative launch date of November 7 has been targeted for the Block IIR-20(M), which will carry a payload that includes an experimental L5 signal. If all goes well, the final IIR launch would take place by December 31.

July 28, 2008

Boeing Wins NRL Contract to Continue Iridium/GPS Development

The Boeing Company has received a three-year, $153.5-million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to continue its efforts to augment GPS for military applications by exploiting the Iridium low earth orbit (LEO) communications satellite system.

July 8, 2008

First GIOVE-A/B Double Difference Observed

Researchers at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), the Netherlands, succeeded this week in simultaneously tracking the GIOVE-A and GIOVE-B L1 Open Service signals in space, producing the first reported computation of a double-difference carrier phase integer ambiguity resolution on the first two experimental Galileo satellites in orbit.

July 1, 2008

GPS IIF Satellite Advances Through Environmental Tests

The Boeing Company has announced completion of the latest in a series of environmental tests of the first of 12 GPS IIF satellites, which confirm the mechanical integrity of the spacecraft.

Having apparently overcome technical problems that have delayed the program for several years, the program is now on track to deliver the first satellite to the U.S. Air Force this year, according to the company, with launch currently scheduled for the first half of 2009.

July 1, 2008

ESA Opens Galileo Procurement: Let the Games Begin!

Today (July 1), the European Commission (EC) — with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA) — launched the procurement process for Galileo with an invitation to companies to submit requests for participation as prime contractors for six work packages (WPs) valued at €2.145 billion (US$3.39 billion).

June 20, 2008

Air Force Tanker Controversy May Influence Galileo Competition

A U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) assessment that the U.S. Air Force made “significant errors” in awarding a $35 billion contract for refueling tankers to a consortium including the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) may affect the prospects of foreign participation in development of the Galileo system.

June 9, 2008

Faulty Booster Component May Delay IIR-M Launches; L5 Signal Ready to Go

Suspected faulty components in a Delta II rocket are delaying the launch of the final two modernized GPS Block IIR satellites, possibly preventing the early broadcast of an L5 civil signal that faces a 2009 deadline for being on the air.

According to Air Force officials at the GPS Master Control Station, Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, and Patrick AFB near the Cape Canaveral launch site, the questionable component is the 40-second timer that triggers separation of the third stage booster from the GPS space vehicle. Affected are both the 20th Block IIR-M, which had been scheduled to launch this month with a civil L5 test signal enabled in the navigation payload, and GPS IIR-21.

May 16, 2008

Lockheed Martin Wins GPS IIIA Contract

A team led by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company has won U. S. Air Force approval to build the GPS Block IIIA satellites under a contract valued at up to $3.568 billion.

The long-delayed decision was announced May 15. The acquisition covers the first of three sets of Block III satellites currently scheduled to begin launching in 2014.

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