Aerospace and Defense

March 10, 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.

In comments at the conference, Jacques Barrot, EC Vice President and commissioner for transport and energy, and Giuseppe Viriglio, ESA director of telecommunications and navigation, indicated that they hope to see invitations to tender (ITTs, essentially, requests for proposals) to be issued July 1.

Deadline for tenders would follow within a few months, followed by a review of bids and contract awards in December. Identification of prospective bidders and requests for information will precede the ITTs, activities that will probably begin within the next few weeks.

The EC and ESA still need to complete a “delegation agreement” that would outline the responsibilities and principles under which ESA would act as the prime contractor — the procurement agent and design authority that will oversee the engineering work and contracts under which the ground and space infrastructure would be built. It will receive an estimated €195 million for that role.

ESA will set up a new Galileo directorate, Viriglio said, to handle its responsibilities. The European Commission will act as the Galileo program manager, taking on additional staff to handle the work, according to Paul Verhoef, head of the Galileo Unit in the EC’s Directorate-General for Transportation and Energy. The ESA directorate would have about 30–40 staff members and the EC Galileo unit would gain about 35 persons to handle program management, according well-informed sources.

The procurement contract schedule will have to be met in order to have a chance to meet the goal of Galileo having a fully operational capability (FOC) by 2013.

The acquisition is divided into six “work packages”: system engineering support, completion of ground mission infrastructure, completion of ground control facilities, launchers, satellites (26 in batches of 10–12, 6–8, and 6–8), and operations.

No company or consortium of companies may bid for more than two of the six packages. The prime contractors must subcontract at least 40 percent of the work to companies not affiliated with them.

In the program’s clearest statement of interest in gaining from the GNSS-related experience of other countries, Viriglio underlined the possibility for European industries “to rely on non-European sources for certain components and services in case of demonstrated substantial advantages in terms of quality and costs, taking account of the strategic nature of the European GNSS programs and of the EU security and export control requirements.”

ESA Takes the IOV Reins. Meanwhile, ESA has already taken over as prime contractor for the in-orbit validation (IOV) phase of the program after a billion-euro contract with European Satellite Navigation Industries (ESNI) was terminated in December. IOV includes construction and launch of four full-fledged Galileo satellites in 2009–2010 to form a mini-constellation for additional validation testing before the other 26 spacecraft are launched in 2011–13.

All the other IOV contracts will be retained as will the associated technical baseline, said Viriglio. European officials still need to figure out how they will cover an estimated $350-million overrun in IOV caused by delays, unexpected security costs, a change in the Open Service signal design as a result of the 2004 EU-US agreement on interoperability of GPS and Galileo, and dependence on a single customer (ESNI).

European officials repeatedly emphasized that the €3.4 billion was the most that they would spend on implementing Galileo, and that competition for contracts would take place under European Union (EU) rules rather than ESA procurement policy, which allocates 90 percent of funds to businesses based on the contributions from the member states in which they are located.

The calculation of $3.4 billion is based on cost estimates by ESA, drawn primarily from industry proposals and earlier studies and concession negotiations under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) concept, which was discarded last year. The largest portion of the costs would be for the space segment — building and launching satellites — estimated at €1.6 billion; the ground segment, €400 million; operations, €275 million; and systems engineering support, €150 million.

Members of aerospace companies that will probably compete for the contracts were less optimistic in their estimates of whether $3.4 billion will be enough.

Galileo has one satellite in orbit, the so-called GIOVE-A, which launched in December 2005 and will reach the end of its design life in March, although its builder, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd., predicts that it will continue operating at least through the end of 2008. A second, larger spacecraft, GIOVE-B, is now scheduled for launch on April 26 from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

More than €2.6 billion has been spent on Europe’s satellite navigation program to date, mostly by the EC and ESA. This includes €133 million for the definition phase, €1.5 billion for the IOV phase, €520 million for the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), and €480 million for Galleo-related projects financed through the EU’s Framework R&D programs. EGNOS is a satellite-based augmentation system that will be integrated into the Galileo infrastructure and operations over the next few years.

Who Calls the Shots? A new regulation regarding financing, governing structure, and procurement procedures for Galileo will be taken up by the European Council in April. But now that the funding and acquisition process have been largely resolved, the outstanding issue facing the Galileo program is governance, that is, the matter of political direction and control of the system’s implementation.

Now that the funding and acquisition process have been addressed, the outstanding issue facing the Galileo program is governance, that is, the matter of political direction and control of the system’s implementation. That, in turn, will have a substantial effect on whether the program is able to stay on schedule and within budget.

Until the abandonment of the PPP, that issue had seemed fairly clear. The European GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA), a Community agency with a executive board made up of directors from the EU member states, would sign and monitor a contract with a private consortium to build and operate Galileo under a 20-year concession.

Now, however, the GSA has lost that primary supervisory role and has come under pressure from both the EC and the European Parliament, which approved the €3.4-billion Galileo program budget last November.

The 2004 EC Council regulation that created the GSA also assigned it other responsibilities: market development of the Galileo operational phase, GNSS-related research, technical certification of the components and services of the Galileo system, management of Galileo security aspects, coordinating radio frequency activity, and managing the agreement with an EGNOS service provider.

The EC would clearly like to bring the GSA back under its direct control, either as a separate but subsidiary entity or by absorbing key technical staff members into the Galileo Unit headed by Verhoef. “What we need is the expertise of the GSA, either directly or through a transfer to an EC office,” Verhoef said at the Munich conference.

Two related approaches are now under consideration: retaining a GSA, separately or within the EC, and restructuring it as a GNSS Security Agency that would handle GNSS security issues and, perhaps, technical certification of the Galileo system being built under the supervision of ESA. ESA would take over most or all of the GSA’s technical responsibilities and the EC Galileo Unit, as program manager, would acquire most of the rest.

Parliament Joins the Fray. In late January, Parliament weighed in with a proposal before the Industry, Research, and Energy (ITRE) Committee that would abolish the 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 EC.

The proposed actions amending the EC’s draft regulation for deployment and commercial operation of Galileo were tentatively approved at a January 30 committee meeting. A final vote on the regulation as a whole by the committee and, later, by the full parliament had not taken place as Inside GNSS went to press.

Parliament clearly feels emboldened by the fully public procurement of Galileo for which the legislative body must approve a budget. In a plenary session at the Munich Summit, Etelka Barsi-Pataky, a member of the European Parliament, noted that “Galileo is a Community project, fully funded from the public budget — taxpayer money.

“We need very strong political control of the project,” she said, noting that in the 11 years since the EC submitted its first communication on satellite navigation, “We have produced a ton of paper, a lot of studies, a lot of discussion. What we need now is to build an operating system.”

Although a “substitute” rather than a full member of the ITRE Committee, Barsi-Pataky is the Galileo rapporteur, the person appointed by parliament to investigate an issue or a situation and report back to it.

By Inside GNSS
March 9, 2008

GNSS Hotspots

One of 12 magnetograms recorded at Greenwich Observatory during the Great Geomagnetic Storm of 1859
1996 soccer game in the Midwest, (Rick Dikeman image)
Nouméa ground station after the flood
A pencil and a coffee cup show the size of NASA’s teeny tiny PhoneSat
Bonus Hotspot: Naro Tartaruga AUV
Pacific lamprey spawning (photo by Jeremy Monroe, Fresh Waters Illustrated)
“Return of the Bucentaurn to the Molo on Ascension Day”, by (Giovanni Antonio Canal) Canaletto
The U.S. Naval Observatory Alternate Master Clock at 2nd Space Operations Squadron, Schriever AFB in Colorado. This photo was taken in January, 2006 during the addition of a leap second. The USNO master clocks control GPS timing. They are accurate to within one second every 20 million years (Satellites are so picky! Humans, on the other hand, just want to know if we’re too late for lunch) USAF photo by A1C Jason Ridder.
Detail of Compass/ BeiDou2 system diagram
Hotspot 6: Beluga A300 600ST

Washington, D.C.
√ President Bush’s FY09 budget allocates nearly $1.2 billion dollars for GPS operations, says the Space and Missile Systems Center’s GPS Wing. If approved, that means the GPS III satellite program goes ahead with a first launch in FY14. That delayed target date looks like a result of last year’s Congressional budget cuts.

Read More >

February 27, 2008

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

The White House

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.

Read More >

By glen
December 1, 2007

John W. Betz

John W. Betz developed the binary offset carrier modulation and participated in the design of modernized signals including GPS M code and L1C. He contributed to aspects of receiver processing for modernized signals and a range of systems engineering activities in support of GPS modernization.

He has participated in bilateral discussions between the United States and the European Community, Japan, Russia, and other nations, and helped improve compatibility and interoperability of current and future GNSSs.

Read More >

By Inside GNSS
November 25, 2007

Congress Pares GPS III Funds, Slams Air Force Space Acquisition Efforts (updated 11/28/07)

The GPS III modernization program came up short in the 2008 fiscal year (FY08) Department of Defense (DoD) appropriations bill signed into law by President Bush on November 13.

In passing H.R. 3222, Congress reduced the president’s request by $100 million to $487.23 million for the budgetary year ending next October 1.

Military GPS M-code user equipment (MUE) did better, however: gaining $63.2 million on Capitol Hill, over and above the $93.27 proposed in the administration’s budget, for a total of $156.47 million.

Read More >

By glen
October 31, 2007


As of late October 2007, China’s Compass (Beidou 2) Navigation Satellite System (CNSS) has manifested little change since the launch of its first medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellite in April 2007. Four geostationary satellites from the prototype Beidou system had previously been launched, the first on October 31, 2000.

Read More >

By glen
October 21, 2007

The Two Worlds of Philip Mattos

Aside from messing about in boats on the estuary near his holiday house in Rock, a village in Cornwall, few activities delight Philip Mattos quite so much as solving the constellation of challenges involved in creating Galileo-ready receivers targeted to reach European consumers within two years.

Aside from messing about in boats on the estuary near his holiday house in Rock, a village in Cornwall, few activities delight Philip Mattos quite so much as solving the constellation of challenges involved in creating Galileo-ready receivers targeted to reach European consumers within two years.

Mattos is the chief engineer for GPS and navigation at STMicroelectronics R&D Ltd. in Bristol, the largest city in southwest England. Located near the mouth of the River Avon, Bristol’s economy centers on the aerospace industry and information technology. The area’s dependence on navigation traces back to its emergence as a major port city in the 12th century.

And while these facts about his home provide a nice bit of context, nothing really explains Mattos’s genius for GNSS. His prolific contributions, which touch hundreds of millions of people around the globe, seem all the more remarkable considering that the 1948 tractor he keeps for mowing his field represents the peak of technologies associated with his rural English childhood.

“Engineering clearly has formed me over the years,” he says with relish. “If something appears broken, take it apart and fix it!”

Since 2004, Mattos has focused on developing a new chip for a project funded by GR-POSTER, the acronym for the Galileo-Ready POSitioning TERminal Consortium. It’s the next big step toward the launch of Europe’s independent satellite navigation system, and Mattos has been breaking trail in this direction for nearly 30 years.

An Early Start in GPS

A Cambridge graduate, Mattos earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electronic engineering. His career began at British Telecom Research Labs, the equivalent to Bell Labs in the U.S. “They sponsored me through additional master’s degrees in telecoms and computer science from Essex; so, I was with them for about nine years,” he says. “At the end of my career there I was specializing in the architecture of the actual processor in microcomputers.”

When the British government set up the semiconductor industry in 1979, Mattos was recruited by INMOS (now STMicroelectronics) to help build the transputer, the United Kingdom’s first 32-bit micro. That’s when he happened across a feature in an electronics magazine that inspired him to develop a demonstration application using LORAN. “But there was a hold on the market.” he says. “Nobody wanted LORAN because GPS was ‘just around the corner.’ Of course, it stayed ‘just around the corner’ for about seven more years.”

So Mattos moved on to doing a GPS demonstrator, helped by a year’s posting to Colorado Springs in the United States. Back then, Mattos worked as “a team of one.” His presentations at conferences in Dallas and London led to partnerships with Inmarsat, Bristol University, and Columbus Positioning that supported taking a software-only demo to full-fledged prototypes integrating radio frequency, software, and hardware. The resulting handheld GPS was launched at the Royal Institute of Navigation conference in 1989 and the London Boat Show in 1990.

On to Galileo

When the sum of these efforts produced a dedicated chip for GPS in 1996, the way was opened for mass-market products and, in turn, increased resources for research. Four years ago, Mattos did the blue-sky thinking for the Galileo-ready chips now being perfected at five STMicroelectronics sites in Europe and India. At the moment, he divides his time mainly between England and Italy.

“In Italy, they work deep in silicon, doing detailed design and verification to check that the silicon we’re about to create is exactly what the people who designed the silicon asked for, and what I asked for when creating the specifications,” Mattos says. “The cost of manufacturing the chip is a huge investment. Our company does it from end to end, from initial design to final test.”

In addition to earning a Ph.D. from Bristol University for his work on GPS, Mattos holds nine patents: eight in the area of GNSS and one in telecommunications. His latest invention, patented earlier this year, provides extended use of broadcast ephemeris. Last year, he received a patent for new methods of processing multi-signal GNSS services, which applies to Galileo and GPS III signals.

His major innovations also include development of the HPGPS in the Teseo and Cartesio basebands as well as a new RF chip, applications which arose from his 2001 patent on accelerated acquisition of GPS signals and his 2003 patents on GPS code acquisition and GPS radio clock generation. Earlier, he obtained patents for microprocessor control of a packet-switched data exchange (1976) and the GPS radio design that led to the STB5600 RF IC (1996).

Asked to name a few milestones in his career, Mattos offered this list:

• Producing the prototype GPS/satcom for Inmarsat in 1990
• Developing the first fully integrated baseband with just 3 chips (compared to 14 in the 1990 model) in partnership with Panasonic, in 1995
• Creating a complete system in two chips, with the baseband having integrated memory and the RF portion being a single chip based on his doctoral work at Bristol University, in 1998
• Widespread acceptance of Vespucci in the automotive market, which changed from the ST20 processor to the ARM7 with embedded Flash memory, in 2001
• The success of Palinuro, with the RF front end on the same chip as the digital baseband, making a one-chip solution from antenna to PVT output, in 2003

The Future in GNSS

Currently, he’s involved in partnerships with Galileo Joint Undertaking in the GR-POSTER Project; ST teams in Bristol, Milan, Naples, and Catania; and lead customers (whose names are not public) on the following projects:

• A high performance 16-channel GPS plus RF chip for Teseo by the end of the year
• A high performance 32-channel GPS, with full PDA/PND functionality, for Cartesio (by early 2007)
• Cartesio’s extended version, with Galileo, for 2008

Mattos also makes time to consult on the next generation of GNSS chips including one-chip GPS (radio frequency plus digital) and high sensitivity GPS for indoor applications.

When the European Union and the European Space Agency launch their 30 Galileo satellites about two years from now, Mattos expects the most noticeable difference for navigation users will be the availability of service in urban canyons. Some indoor areas will be more accessible as well, though not those made of dense materials like concrete or metal.

“Galileo’s biggest benefit is that it can be combined with GPS and be compatible,” Mattos says. “If you’re down in an urban canyon, there will be enough satellites in the sky that your navigation system will continue to work. We need four or five satellites to operate properly and we don’t get that today in urban canyons. With GPS and Galileo together, we will.”

Mattos’s coordinates:
51° 32.450 N 2° 34.600 W


Engineering Specialties
“From 1990 to 1995 I was a team of one, so I needed to do everything – design engineering, system integration, software, hardware, signal processing, RFIC, and so on. Once the system was proven, more people were allocated and areas delegated. Now I specialize in architecture, system level design, advanced signals and DSP, tending to move away from GPS and towards Galileo. As a system specialist I advise the silicon experts, both RF and baseband, but leave the detail design to them.”

His Compass Points
• A childhood in the country, “before any of the technological stuff”
• Going to Cambridge
• Buying his first house “way out in the country looking out at the marshes and the river, which reinforced my existing love of the country, love of the water, and dislike of cities.”

Favorite Equation
The great circle distance between two points on the earth.

D = r x arrcos {sin φ1 sin φ2 + cos φ1 cos φ2 cos Δλ}

GNSS “Aha” Moment
I was demonstrating my software-based LORAN system, when a sales manager who was also a yachtie said, ‘This is pointless. LORAN will be replaced by GPS in a year or two.’ It’s 18 years later and the world is still having that debate!”

First Significant GNSS Achievement
In 1987 he worked in the same building as now, for his current employer (at that time, called INMOS) making the transputer, a then-revolutionary 32-bit microprocessor. “Having been advised that LORAN would be replaced by GPS, I did a demo of a software GPS, with one processor emulating the satellite, and a second processor performing all the DSP correlation, and demodulation in software to acquire and track the signal. The goal was to demonstrate the very high computing performance of the transputer processor: software GPS in 1987!”

Why he fell in love with GNSS
“My interests were boats, electronics, computers, and radio. How else to combine them all and play on company time? The challenge was to do something that covered so many technical areas, from antennas, low noise amplifiers, radio frequencies, digital signal processing, baseband, software, and map-matching, to dead-reckoning equipment, and have ownership of the entire design. This entire system was demonstrated in 1992, when a color map meant placing a six-inch CRT (cathode ray tube) display in a car. I have the TV to this day.”

GNSS Event that Most Signifies that GNSS has “Arrived”
Shipping the company’s Palinuro single-chip GPS. “Connect active antenna, power, and RS232 comm port to a PC/PDA and you have a GPS.”

Popular Notions about GNSS that Most Annoy
First, that the $2,000 box in the car is a GPS. “The GPS is the $15 module inside the box that delivers PVT.” Second most annoying, that the satellites track the user. “They have no idea you exist.”

Dream Device
An all-bands radio, initially a receiver but also a transmitter that listens to all the channels for all the aircraft, all the boats, and all the ships. It would display the active ones on screen and record activity so that one needn’t be present to monitor it. “You can get this information now, just not all in one place. It’s not what they call rocket science, because all the elements have been done. It’s a matter of bringing it all together. Such a device would let me feel a part of things when I’m at the office, working in the garden, or engaged in the ongoing refurbishment of our holiday house.”

What’s Next
Galileo in consumer vehicles throughout Europe.

Galileo-Ready POSitioning TERminal
(GR-POSTER) Project:


Karen Van Dyke: Re-Engineering the Airways

Karen Van Dyke at Glacier Bay National Park near Juneau, Alaska

Karen Van Dyke probably isn’t someone you’d expect to see driving around Virginia with one hand piloting the steering wheel and the other gripping a map. But for Van Dyke, an electrical engineer who wryly describes herself as “geographically challenged,” the maps piled on her passenger seat remain a lifeline even though two years have passed since she moved from her native Boston to Washington D.C.

“It’s my GPS secret,” she admits. “When I get lost, I tell my husband that’s why I work in this field.”

Karen Van Dyke probably isn’t someone you’d expect to see driving around Virginia with one hand piloting the steering wheel and the other gripping a map. But for Van Dyke, an electrical engineer who wryly describes herself as “geographically challenged,” the maps piled on her passenger seat remain a lifeline even though two years have passed since she moved from her native Boston to Washington D.C.

“It’s my GPS secret,” she admits. “When I get lost, I tell my husband that’s why I work in this field.”

Why doesn’t one of the profession’s leading innovators have GPS in her car? The answer reveals just how recently GPS has come into its own. “When I bought my car in 2001, adding a navigation system wasn’t an option,” she explains. “I’d gladly have paid extra for it.”

Since then, GPS has vaulted the divide between geek speak and consumer chic. “Legislation has brought it into our cell phones. The world’s banks rely on it to time stamp their transactions,” says Van Dyke. “Eventually, coordinates will be part of every product and process in our lives – but first GPS must be improved and integrated with other technologies in order to achieve accurate positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) information anytime and anywhere.”

That challenge keeps Van Dyke on her toes in her work for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Her specialty: incorporating GPS into the transportation infrastructure for various applications.

Little did she know, when she accepted a summer research job following her graduation from the University of Lowell in 1988, that she was sealing her professional fate. Her professor, Dr. James Rome, was doing a project for the John A. Volpe Transportation Systems Center looking at whether a new system, GPS, might reduce aircraft separation on the North Atlantic routes by providing position information where there was no radar coverage.

“That summer gave me an opportunity to learn about GPS, which I found to be a fascinating technology with tremendous future applications,” Van Dyke says. By summer’s end, she was hired by Volpe, part of the DOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA).

She says her engineering mentor, Frank Tung, modeled a well-rounded approach toward the profession. Tung was director of aviation programs when she joined Volpe and has since retired. “He always emphasized enjoying what you work on and ensuring that your work contributed to making a positive difference for the organization and transportation community,” she says.

For Van Dyke, one of the most enjoyable aspects of her work is its global nature.

“Many countries have approached the Volpe Center for assistance with development of similar satellite outage reporting systems for air navigation – especially third world countries that do not have the sophisticated ground-based infrastructure that the U.S. has,” she says. “The cost-effective and innovative benefits that GNSS technology can provide to them are tremendous.”

Van Dyke is a Fellow and past president of the Institute of Navigation (ION) whose many publications include collaborating on the first and second editions of the book, Understanding GPS: Principles and Applications. She has received the Meritorious Achievement Award (Silver Medal) from the Secretary of Transportation, the Superior Achievement Award (Bronze Medal) from the Research and Special Programs Administrator, and the ION Early Achievement Award.

She has helped spearhead many innovations – including these personal favorites:

GPS RAIM Outage Reporting Systems

Van Dyke led the Volpe Center team that designed, developed, and implemented GPS RAIM satellite outage reporting systems for both the U.S. Air Force and the FAA. These receiver autonomous integrity monitoring systems brief GPS availability to pilots during pre-flight planning to support use of TSO C129a receivers.

“Subsequently, similar work was performed for Australian, German, and Chilean aviation authorities on the implementation of systems for use by pilots and air traffic control in those countries,” she says.

Prior to commissioning the GPS Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) in 2003, she led a team that supported the FAA in development of the WAAS prediction model and integration into the air traffic control system to supply Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) information for all phases of flight, including precision approaches.

Reducing Vulnerability

In 2001, she participated in a Volpe Center project that produced sixteen recommendations for reducing the vulnerability of the transportation infrastructure that relies on GPS. The project was done in response to the President’s Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection.

The team’s study of GPS civilian aviation, maritime, and surface uses assessed the effects of GPS outages and recommended steps to minimize the safety and operational impacts of both short and long term disruptions.


Van Dyke headed the Volpe Center team that developed the prototype traceability requirements tool for the GPS Joint Program Office. That led to the creation of an internal website whose acronym is GPS STARWEB, or GPS Specifications Traceability and Analysis of Requirements. STARWEB uses DOORS software – Dynamic Object Oriented Requirements — for its integrated database that establishes relationships and traceability of requirements within the GPS system.

“This equips the civil GPS community with the information necessary for informed decision making,” she says.

Currently, Van Dyke has several projects going at once. Recently, she has been supporting development of GPS III, evaluating the specifications for the future space and control segment.

She’s also working with the Federal Railroad Administration and Ohio University on the High Performance Nationwide Differential GPS initiative to evaluate whether it can be designed to meet requirements for Positive Train Control and other high accuracy applications.

Another collaboration addresses the potential use of WAAS for maritime applications. She heads a Volpe Center team that is working with Innovative Solutions International (ISI) to develop a GNSS Performance Monitoring System (GPMS) for the Brazil Aviation Authority. This system is responsible for ensuring that satellite-based systems provide a continuous, safe, and reliable signal-in-space (SIS) for navigation users.

And, with all that, she still finds time to volunteer. She has been the air navigation technical representative for the Institute of Navigation (ION) since 1992 and served as ION’s eastern region representative and president (2000-2001).

Lisa Beaty, ION’s director of operations, says “Karen’s international technical reputation precedes her, but many people may not know about her countless hours of volunteer service within the navigation community, including fostering the development of programs for the next generation of navigation professionals.”

Van Dyke’s coordinates:
39° 38.921 N 077° 08.231 W



Engineering Specialties
Identifying positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) requirements for transportation applications, as well as development and deployment of GPS monitoring and service prediction tools.


Favorite Equation
The Keplerian parameters describing orbital motion. Most of the applications we have developed for GPS prediction systems and the analysis begins with modeling the GPS constellation performance based on Keplerian motion, Van Dyke points out.


First Significant GNSS Achievement
Back when there wasn’t a full constellation of satellites, Van Dyke was part of the Volpe Center project team that helped develop Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (RAIM) algorithms to predict the availability of GPS integrity for oceanic through non-precision approach phases of flight. The limitation was availability of service, which then led to development of the augmentation systems.


Her Compass Points
Engineer husband Ken Kepchar is, “one of those people who was born with a built-in navigation sensor.” They met at the GPS Joint Program Office at the Los Angeles Air Force Base.

Rather than follow the herd into high tech computer firms when she finished engineering school, Van Dyke’s fascination with early GPS technology led her to take a position with the John A. Volpe Transportation Systems Center.

The University of Lowell (Massachusetts) where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering (1988 and 1991).

Knew GNSS had Arrived When . . .
“When I first began working on GPS, my friends and family had never heard of it. I would have to explain what the acronym GPS stood for, what the system was, and the various applications of the technology. Over time, my friends and family began telling me about GPS applications they had read about in the paper or seen on the news. Now that the term GPS is commonly used in the media – it has arrived!

Popular Notion about GNSS That Most Annoys
“It is disappointing when I hear someone in the international community say that the U.S. Department of Defense can turn off GPS anytime they want. It is simply not true. The U.S. government has worked very hard to establish national space-based positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) policy with a coordination office, headed by a civilian, with civil and military representation. The national space-based PNT Executive Committee is co-chaired by the Deputy Secretaries of Transportation and Defense.”

Consumer Engineering Wish List
“My own on-board navigation system with voice is number one on my Christmas list.”

What’s Next
Integration of GPS with other navigation sensor technology and development of a net-centric approach for reliable distribution of PNT information.

October 20, 2007

Public Private Perplexity

High up in one corner of a trophy hall in the castle of the Bavarian royal dynasty in Berchtesgaden, Germany, hangs a poignant scene of inextricable conflict and death: the heads of two mighty stags, their antlers locked in combat.

Our tour guide translated the story behind this tableau. On October 14, 1735, a hunting party from the castle discovered the pair of struggling animals. Unable to separate the entangled antlers and with one deer’s neck already broken, the hunters had to shoot the other stag.

High up in one corner of a trophy hall in the castle of the Bavarian royal dynasty in Berchtesgaden, Germany, hangs a poignant scene of inextricable conflict and death: the heads of two mighty stags, their antlers locked in combat.

Our tour guide translated the story behind this tableau. On October 14, 1735, a hunting party from the castle discovered the pair of struggling animals. Unable to separate the entangled antlers and with one deer’s neck already broken, the hunters had to shoot the other stag.

A quiet murmur fell over the tour group, a post-conference excursion of delegates from the Munich Satellite Navigation Conference, as we reflected on the brute intransigence of nature. Then a voice spoke up from the back of the crowd: “That’s what happens when you have a PPP.”

Public Private Partnership or PPP, the now-notorious solution to a temporary impasse in Europe’s Galileo program. How quickly shibboleth can turn into epithet.

The laughter that followed the delegate’s wry comparison of death throes and thwarted politics drew strength from the discussions we had heard in the three previous days.

Prolonged negotiations have broken down between public patrons of Galileo and the private consortium seeking to complete and operate the European GNSS. The two sides have not come to terms over several major elements of risk-sharing associated with the program. The consortium has failed to incorporate a Galileo Operating Company (GOC), which would manage the system infrastructure as a profit-seeking venture under the oversight of the European GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA).

“The negotiations are far more difficult than anyone anticipated,” Matthias Ruete, director general of energy and transport for the European Commission (EC), told his Munich summit audience.

Added Pedro Pedreira, executive director of the GSA, an EC entity that took over public sector responsibilities for Galileo at the beginning of the year, “The consortium is not able to present its own [unified] terms, let alone negotiate those terms.”

For their part representatives of the private consortium, while complaining that engineering changes and an elusive business model derived from the Galileo infrastructure were complicating the situation, acknowledged the new stalemate and their own internal disunity.

As this issue of Inside GNSS went to press, the problem was on its way to the council of European transport ministers meeting on March 22.

In its nearly 14 years of evolution, Europe’s GNSS program has met many such obstacles and, ultimately, always found a way through or around them. But never, as Ruete commented to me, have the challenges needed to be dealt with at such a high level.

And perhaps never with such urgency in the context of a global surge in GNSS expansion and modernization. China’s proposed new Compass system, the U.S. GPS III initiative, and restoration of Russia’s GLONASS are all scheduled (perhaps wishfully) to take place before or about the same time as Galileo is now expected to reach full operational capability around 2010–12.

PPP, a solution in the political environment of 1999, has now created a larger problem than the one it solved. Consequently, the public sector has a large responsibility for ensuring that it brings sufficient resources to resolve the current situation.

For years many in Europe have started referring to PPP as meaning, “Public Pays Private,” referring to the practical necessity for public subsidy — overt or covert — of an infrastructure that will ultimately pay for itself in the tax revenues generated by user equipment, services, and applications and not solely from revenues derived directly from the system itself.

For their part, the individual companies comprising the consortium need to resist the temptation of short-term competitive maneuvers or opportunistic national interests and reach an accord with the GSA.

Otherwise, without a two-sided exercise of self-discipline, it won’t matter which of these entangled entities gets its neck broken and which gets shot.



GNSS Marketplace

I like the marketplace.

I really do.

I love the energy, the innovation, the diversity, the pricing mechanism of demand curves, the buyer-seller feedback loops, the promotional hoopla, the whole deal.

I like the marketplace.

I really do.

I love the energy, the innovation, the diversity, the pricing mechanism of demand curves, the buyer-seller feedback loops, the promotional hoopla, the whole deal.

In the rather remote town where I live, we have a Saturday Market that’s more than 30 years old. Every week a bunch of home-grown entrepreneurs set up their booths with pottery, tie-dyed shirts, fresh blueberries, metal sculptures, Guatemalan tamales, jewelry, everything imaginable. There’s colorful banners waving and musicians playing and aging hippies dancing.

And — just to let you know how far we are outside not merely the D.C. Beltway but outside the whole North American Free Trade Agreement zone — all the products sold in the market must be grown or made by the people selling them.

Of course, the market can’t do everything.

It apparently can’t produce enough bird flu vaccine to protect a nation or distribute enough food in the right place to prevent hunger in the midst of plenty. And one thing many people wouldn’t have expected the market to do was produce a multitude of global navigation satellite systems.

But it has, with GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and perhaps even Beidou waiting in the wings.

And thank goodness for the marketplace, because it’s apparently going to take not merely a village, but a world to raise up a new generation of robust, modernized GNSS.

Fortunately, we have redundant programs, not merely redundant satellites. If one GNSS is delayed or changes its plan, another one is there to keep the parade moving forward. So, when Galileo sets itself hurdles, such as agreeing on not merely a concession contract but a business model as well, there’s GPS with its simple taxpayer-driven approach to keep things moving. And when GPS loses its way amid the engineering changes and chain-of-command silos of the military-industrial complex, there’s GLONASS speeding up its schedule in a race to the future.

Hopefully, by the time GLONASS encounters its next economic or technical or political challenge, Galileo and GPS will be back on track.

Yes, we definitely are in another “two-steps-forward-one-step-back” phase of GNSS development.

In an industrious and cooperative surge of activity, we have seen three sets of draft specifications reach fruition in the last few weeks: publication of a joint recommendation for design of new civil signals on GPS and Galileo, the Galileo Interface Control Document, and the GPS L1C interface specification.

Although further discussion and revisions are inevitable, these anxiously awaited items will provide guidance to GNSS product designers and encouragement to users.

Meanwhile, however, we once again have to wonder: what’s going on — or, more to the point, not going on — with the GPS program? In a short span of time, we’ve seen new delays in the first launch of a GPS Block IIF satellite (originally planned for 2005), a possible yearlong delay in GPS III, and a missed deadline for awarding an important contract on modernized user equipment for the Department of Defense (DoD) community.

Those developments underscore the need for implementing a recommendation in the Defense Science Board Task Force on GPS report: coordinate DoD responsibilities for GPS by designating a single focal point within the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Currently, as with many other defense programs, the GPS program has three separate decision-making channels for acquisition, budget, and command. What in a well-managed organization might serve as supporting columns for a common endeavor have turned into self-contained silos sheltering processes, personnel, and purposes that become laws unto themselves. These parallel, non-convergent functions are producing asynchronous, discontinuous results.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Donald England has reportedly kicked the Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Executive Committee meeting schedule into high gear; perhaps he’s the man to do the same for the PNT program itself.