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March 19, 2008

GIOVE-B Reaches Baikonur Launch Site, Undergoes Pre-Flight Check

GIOVE-B, the second Galileo in-orbit validation satellite, has arrived safely at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, where it is undergoing pre-flight checks in preparation for its launch early on April 26.

After completing final tests at the European Space Agency (ESA) space technology center in Noordwijk, The Netherlands, the spacecraft was transported to Baikonur aboard an Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft.

March 15, 2008

Another Successful GPS Launch, Plan Produce Back-Up and Improved Capability

Successful launch of a GPS Block IIR satellite on March 15 continues a U. S. Air Force initiative to bolster the nation’s GNSS constellation against anticipated failures of aging on-orbit spacecraft while improving system accuracy and accelerating the availability of new military signals.

An analysis of the condition of subsystems on GPS satellites in orbit last year indicated that up to nine GPS space vehicles (SVs) could fail in the near future, according to Col. David Madden, commander of the GPS Wing at the Space & Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California. “That’s what drove us down this path of launching five in one year,” said in a recent news conference.

March 1, 2008

China's Compass/Beidou: Back-Track or Dual Track?

A recent presentation on Compass/Beidou that appeared to reflect a step back from China’s GNSS program more likely represented a step sideways — and an implicit acknowledgment of the complex political and technical elements involved in such an enterprise.

In February 20 remarks at the Munich Satellite Navigation Summit in Germany, Jing Guifei, a project manager at the National Remote Sensing Center of China (NRSCC), seemed to play down the global aspects of Compass — or Beidou 2 — while underlining near-term efforts to implement a regional capability for the system.

February 26, 2008

President’s FY09 Budget Proposes $1.2 Billion for GPS Program

President Bush’s Fiscal Year 2009 (FY09) budget released earlier this month proposes an allocation of nearly $1.2 billion dollars for GPS operations, according to the Space and Missile Systems Center's GPS Wing at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California.

If approved, the budget would support continued development of the GPS III satellite program with a first launch in FY14. The somewhat delayed target date appears to match the prediction of the GPS Wing that the first GPS III launch would be set back a few months as a result of Congressional cuts in the FY08 GPS budget.

February 22, 2008

GLONASS CDMA Signals Near Approval

Russia appears ready to add code division multiple access (CDMA) signals to its frequency division multiple access (FDMA) GLONASS system.

A final decision is expected next week, according to Sergey Revnivykh, deputy head of the Russian GNSS Mission Control Center, in a February 20 presentation to the Munich Satellite Navigation Conference in Germany. Under the plan, CDMA signals would be introduced at L1 and L5 frequencies near GPS and Galileo signals, beginning with the GLONASS-K generation of satellites that will launch in 2010.

February 22, 2008

Europe Readies Galileo Procurement

Having transformed the Galileo program into a fully public procurement, European agencies have announced a schedule that would lead to contracts for the €3.4-billion project by the end of 2008. And non-European companies may be involved in providing certain components and services to the effort.

The plans were revealed in presentations by high-ranking figures from the European Commission (EC) and European Space Agency (ESA) speaking at the Munich Satellite Navigation Summit in Germany, February 19–21.

February 9, 2008

Ivanov GLONASS Flap Obscures Program Reality

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov’s criticism of Roscosmos and GLONASS continues to ripple in news columns around the world.
Widely reported in Russian media and picked up and amplified in derivative reports, Ivanov’s complaints focused on GLONASS’s relative inaccuracy, limited coverage, and lack of user equipment.

However, aside from the fact that the person making the remarks was Ivanov — a powerful figure once thought to be in line to succeed Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, none of this is really news. Rather, it seems like another example of the phenomenon that, when people learn of something for the first time, they assume it has just happened.

February 6, 2008

President’s 2009 Budget Proposal Directs DHS to Implement eLORAN

The Bush administration appears to have finally made a long-delayed decision to complete implementation of an enhanced LORAN (LOng RAnge Navigation) system to serve, in part, as a back-up to GPS.

Late in the drafting process of the Fiscal Year 2009 (FY09) budget proposal that went to Congress earlier this week (February 4), officials added language “migrating” the LORAN-C system from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to the Department of Homeland Security’s National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD). A $34.5-million budget and 294 positions would take part in the migration.

February 6, 2008

GSA Seeks Proposals for Galileo Signal Study

The European GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA) has invited bids on an estimated €500,000 ($732,000), 18-month contract to evaluate and propose refinements in the Galileo signals to optimize the system’s prospects in a multi-system GNSS world.

February 2, 2008

Parliamentary Committee Proposal Would Abolish GNSS Supervisory Authority

A proposal before the European Parliament’s Industry Committee would abolish the European GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA), turn responsibility for ensuring the Galileo system’s security requirements over to a new Committee on European GNSS Programs, and establish an Interinstitutional Monitoring Group (IMG) consisting of representatives of the parliament, the European Council's Presidency, and the European Commission (EC).

Jammer Dectector
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