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GNSS Hotspots

In this issue: Easy Riders, Collaborative Air Force, SVN 64 and Take Two for Russia

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA
√ Not only has century-old American motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson used consumer focus groups for the first time to develop its newest “hogs,” it has responded to customers with a voice-activated touch-screen GPS unit, the first on a production model. Now the Easy Riders don’t have to wend their way to trouble, they can ask their chopper where to go.

Dayton, Ohio USA
√ Want to solve some knotty problems? The 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has set up an online collaborative platform to crowd-solve technical challenges. It’s aimed at science, technology, and engineering-oriented adults and older teenagers. Project 3 — coming soon — asks you to target the precise coordinates within the GPS constellation to launch the newest IIF.

3. SVN 64
Cape Canaveral, Florida USA
√ The fifth GPS IIF, SVN 64, is scheduled to take a ride on a Delta 4 launcher on October 17. Meanwhile, U.S. Air Force engineers are testing a new charging method that could reduce the rate of battery degradation and extend the life of the older IIRs and IIR-Ms, which make up 60 percent of the GPS constellation.

Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia
√ After the July 2 loss of three GLONASS-M satellites, Russia temporarily grounded the Proton launcher, and decided to send up two replacement SVs using the trusty Soyuz. Uragan/GLONASS-M 39 and 40 are scheduled to go up in September and October from Plesetsk Cosmodrome. Meanwhile, three senior managers at the space agency’s TsNIIMash, Central Institute for Machine Building, have been axed and charged in a continuing GLONASS corruption scandal.

Sejong City, Korea
√ On September 2, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency announced plans for the country’s own satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS). The open service will reduce the margin of error from the current 37 meters to 1 meter, it said. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport will start work in 2014 and expects to complete the system by 2018.

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