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20120827-nasa-phonesat-web.jpgA pencil and a coffee cup show the size of NASA's teeny tiny PhoneSat
Report-A-Pest, the Fourth GPS IIF, PhoneSats, Russia's 24, and Precision Robots

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1. PESTS

State of California, USA
√ The California Agriculture department is using collective intelligence and GPS to “report a pest.” State residents can download the new CDFA smartphone app and use it to photograph and report bad bugs when they see ‘em. Those with iPhones can choose to send GPS coordinates for quick response to invasive pest emergencies.

2. TAKE FOUR
Cape Canaveral, Florida
√ The fourth GPS IIF took off from Cape Canaveral on May 15. It was the first time a ULA Atlas V rocket carried a GPS satellite. Once in orbit, SV66 will relieve from duty SVN33, a 19-year old Block IIA veteran, which will take emeritus status as a spare.

3. PHONE HOME
Wallops Island, Virginia
√ On April 22, NASA launched 3 off-the-shelf smartphones to find out if they could manage flight avionics, communications, and photography for a cheap mini-satellite. The consumer-grade “PhoneSats” have many of the needed capabilities already built in — including GPS. During the short experiment, they sent back beautiful earth images retrieved by ham radio operators. More PhoneSats will go up next year.  

4. 24 AGAIN for GLONASS
Plesetsk, Russia and Honolulu, Hawaii
√ A Soyuz rocket successfully launched a 3,000-pound GLONASS-M satellite on April 28 from Plesetsk Cosmodrome. Sergey Revnivykh, director of the PNT Center, Roscosmos, said it will replace a failing satellite thus restoring Russia’s full 24-satellite constellation. He told a group at the ION Pacific PNT conference in Honolulu that the second K-type satellite will go up before the end of the year.

5. PRECISION
Canberra, Australia
√ On May 20, two super-customized outdoor calibration robots introduced themselves to Australia’s 200 GNSS antennae with the goal of improving accuracy to less than one millimeter. "We know the robot’s tool point, to within 0.1 mm per year. Now, the intent is to characterize the behavior of the antenna as [multi-GNSS] signals enter it" said John Dawson, head of the national geographical survey geodesy program. The plan? Faster crustal deformation studies, better mobile devices and more.

 

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