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July 11, 2014

Galileo IOV Satellite Failure Mystery Still Unsolved

[Updated June 16, 2014] Sources in Brussels say the recently reported “power loss” that threatens to end the brief transmission life of Galileo GSAT0104, the fourth Galileo in-orbit validation (IOV) satellite, has nothing to do with the onboard atomic clocks, but could have been caused by a failure in the components linked to the solid-state power amplifier (SSPA), including the output multiplexer, cables and/or antenna.

June 30, 2014

Supreme Court Decision Cites GPS Location as Factor in Warrantless Cell Phone Search

A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision issued last Wednesday (June 25, 2014) listed the history of precise locations contained in the phone as an example of the information that individuals have a right to have protected against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”
 
The decision, delivered by Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., addressed two cases in which cell phones were seized in unrelated incidents and ruled that the contents of cell phones are generally covered by the Fourth Amendment.
 

June 30, 2014

FAA Seeks Comment on Groundbreaking UAS Application, Model Aircraft Rules

Federal aviation officials appear to be moving quickly to defuse mounting pressure for the commercial use of unmanned aircraft, clarifying their authority over such aircraft and starting the public process for licensing small firms for limited operations.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has taken a tough stance in its interpretation of the legal uses for model aircraft published on June 23 in the Federal Register. The issue surged into the national spotlight when the agency failed to win a legal challenge over its authority to regulate such devices.

June 30, 2014

GPS OCX Program Being Restructured as Budget Pressures Mount

In response to the ongoing federal budget squeeze, the U.S. Air Force is restructuring the contract for developing its new GPS ground system, a move that could further delay its completion.

The Air Force has asked Raytheon, its contractor for the Next-Generation Operational Control System (OCX), to develop an alternative plan in light of fiscal limitations.

“The current baseline approach is unaffordable” given the funding constraints and “appears to be a much higher risk,” said Steve Moran, the director of GPS Mission Solutions at Raytheon.

June 23, 2014

FCC Courts GPS Community in Effort to Solve Spectrum Crunch

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officials took a new tack last Friday (June 20, 2014) in their search for frequencies for mobile broadband, kicking off what they said they hoped would become an industry partnership that can find ways to get more out of the radio spectrum while protecting GPS.

June 17, 2014

GNSS Monitoring Stations Slide into U.S.-Russia Rift

GPS and GLONASS emerged from the depths of the Cold War to become the world’s leading dual-use (civil/military) GNSS programs in the post-Soviet era.

Now renewed tensions between their national sponsors, the United States and Russia, are undercutting a decade-long move toward GNSS cooperation.

The United States and Russia initiated bilateral GNSS cooperation in December 2004, with the primary goal of enabling civil interoperability at the user level between GPS and GLONASS. In June 2012 the two nations issued a renewed statement of cooperation in GNSS.

June 17, 2014

ICAO to Sponsor First-Time Industry Showcase

In an unprecedented move, the United Nations’ aviation organization will sponsor an industry showcase next spring at which manufacturers can demonstrate their wares to nations looking to upgrade their systems.

June 16, 2014

Russia Launches CDMA Payload on GLONASS-M

On Saturday (June 14, 2014) Russia placed a GLONASS-M satellite into orbit, carried there by a Soyuz 2-1b rocket from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome north of Moscow.

GLONASS-M 55 was put into the constellation’s slot 21 in the third orbital plane.

According to ISS Reshetnev, the manufacturer of the satellite, GLONASS-M 55 is equipped with an experimental payload capable of transmitting CDMA signals in the L3 frequency band, centered at 1202.025 MHz. Flight testing of the new equipment will evaluate the accuracy of the new CDMA signal.

June 10, 2014

Homeland Security Researching GPS Disruptions, Solutions

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is advancing beyond simple assessment of the risks that GPS disruptions pose to critical infrastructure and is considering the development of new technology to mitigate jamming and spoofing while working with vendors to integrate that technology into receivers.

June 6, 2014

FCC Workshop on GPS Receivers Alarms GNSS Community

Leading navigation experts are worried an upcoming workshop on GPS receivers being organized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an attempt to initiate design mandates for user equipment that could potentially undermine the GNSS community.

“There is currently planned an FCC workshop that is going to, among other things, address certification and standards for receivers,” said Brad Parkinson, the acting chair of the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Advisory Board and a former chief of the NAVSTAR GPS Joint Program Office.

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