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October 17, 2007

Successful GPS Block IIR-M Spacecraft Launch

A Block IIR-M GPS satellite was launched successfully today (October 17, 2007) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Expected to be set healthy for use in early November 2007, the spacecraft will be designated as PRN15/SVN55, referring to its pseudorandom noise code and space vehicle number, respectively.

October 11, 2007

Lack of Launcher Module Delays Galileo Launch

Unavailability of an upper stage of the Soyuz launcher will delay launch of the second Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element satellite (GIOVE-B) until at least March 2008. The most recent schedule had called for a late-December launch from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan.

Already behind schedule as the result of an electrical short that caused widespread damage to the spacecraft during laboratory tests in summer 2006, the Galileo program’s latest postponement reportedly stems from the lack of a Fregat module. Fregat is the portion of the Russian rocket that releases the spacecraft into its final orbit (shown with GIOVE-A in accompanying ESA photo).

October 8, 2007

Transport Ministers Leave Galileo Procurement Unresolved

The European Transport Council generally reaffirmed its commitment to the Galileo program in an October 2 meeting without resolving some underlying differences of how to finance the system following abandonment of the public-private partnership (PPP) approach earlier this year.

In its first look at the European Commission (EC) plan to complete the system by 2013 under a more traditional public procurement process, the council confirmed its intention “to take an integrated decision on the European GNSS before the end of the year.”

September 26, 2007

GLONASS has "preliminary approval" to transmit CDMA GLONASS signals at L1, L5

GLONASS has gotten “preliminary approval” to add code division multiple access (CDMA) signals to future satellites.

Since its initiation in the early 1980s, the Russian GNSS system has employed frequency division multiple access (FDMA) techniques in which the same code is used for the signals broadcast by the system, with individual spacecraft being distinguished from one another by a specific frequency allocation. Russia would almost certainly continue broadcasting FDMA signals on existing frequencies.

September 19, 2007

Selective Availability: Completely Dead

Selective Availability (SA), the contentious issue of degrading the open GPS civil to advantage military signals, is going away for good under the terms of a presidential decision announced September 18.

September 18, 2007

NovAtel Inc. Buys Antenna Company

NovAtel Inc. has acquired privately held antenna manufacturer Antcom Corporation (Antcom) for $5 million in cash and an additional $1 million in cash subject to Antcom's achievement of certain financial targets for the calendar year ended December 31, 2007.

September 14, 2007

USAF evolves GPS architecture with $800 million upgrade to ground control segment

On September 14, Air Force crews at Schriever AFB, Colorado, completed the initial phase of an $800 million upgrade to the GPS operational control segment.

Operators in the 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS) of the USAF 50th Space Wing migrated control of the GPS satellite constellation and ground monitoring facilities from a 1970s-era mainframe computer to a distributed IT infrastructure with advanced automated features. The 50th Space Wing, through the 2nd SOPS, performs the satellite command and control mission for the Global Positioning System.

September 12, 2007

ICG sets up new Providers Forum to pursue compatibility among GNSS systems, augmentation systems

Operators of the world’s four GNSS systems and regional augmentation systems have laid the foundation for a multilateral environment in which to discuss issues of compatibility and interoperability.

September 9, 2007

It’s MBOC for common Galileo-GPS civil signal

The United States and the European Union (EU) have agreed to use the multiplexed binary offset carrier (MBOC) for a common GPS-Galileo signal for civilian use. In the future, this will enable combined GNSS receivers to track the GPS and Galileo signals with higher accuracy, even in challenging environments that include multipath, noise, and interference.

These signals will be implemented on the Galileo Open Service and the GPS IIIA new L1 civil signal known as L1C.

September 9, 2007

Proton launch failure raises questions about timeline for completing GLONASS constellation

The September 6 crash of a Russian Proton-M rocket carrying a Japanese telecommunications satellite (JCSAT 11) has injected an element of uncertainty into plans for completing the GLONASS constellation.

Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome automatically suspended all Proton rocket flights, pending an investigation, after the failure of the rocket, which crashed in the steppes of Kazakhstan just over two minutes after lift-off. Russia rents the space facility from Kazakhstan, a former republic in the USSR.

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