Thinking Aloud

September 26, 2017

Ensuring PNT for All

Today’s headlines frame my thoughts about securing GNSS assets, which one expert has characterized as our “least visible and most vulnerable infrastructure.”

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By Inside GNSS
August 6, 2017

Turn NextGen into ThisGen

The Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) is setting no records in government efficiency or speed. So, it’s time for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Congress, and partner agencies to change the verb tense and transform NextGen into an operational ThisGen.

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By Inside GNSS
May 29, 2017

Get Galileo on Board

For several years the European Union (EU) has sought a waiver for its Galileo system from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licensing requirements — the so-called Part 25 rule to operate in this country.

Long-overdue approval of the request should be expedited by the FCC.

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By Inside GNSS
April 2, 2017

Is That All There Is to GPS?

Looking over the initial budget of the Trump administration, we can safely say that the president and his timorous collaborators on Capitol Hill have a maximalist concept of providing for “the common defense” and a minimalist one for promoting “the general welfare,” two of the six missions enshrined in the preamble of the U.S. Constitution.

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By Inside GNSS
January 26, 2017

No Sudden Moves

As with the notion of “disruption,” unpredictability can be useful. A move in chess or go, for instance. Or in the case of cuisine — say, when usurping Taco Thursday with chicken tagine. Even in negotiations, an unanticipated gambit can change the outcome positively.

Sometimes, of course, unpredictability is in the immanent nature of things. Despite advances in meteorological technology and science, weather continues to prove fickle. Foreknowledge of earthquakes remains difficult to pin down in space and time.

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By Inside GNSS
November 30, 2016

Exit, Pursued by a Bear

American Election 2016 — now that was something, wasn’t it?

A national unpopularity contest. Sort of Commedia dell’arte meets Monty Python, directed by Todd Phillips, with a cameo appearance by Berlusconi.

Did we find it risible? Oh, yes, but were those tears of laughter, sorrow, or disbelief?

So, while we are collectively unpacking the meaning and nonsense from two years of political theater and telling each other our fortunes for the next four, what does it portend for GNSS?

Well, the tea leaves are a little unclear.

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By Dee Ann Divis
September 9, 2016

Changing the Rules

How do you win when you are really losing?

Play a different game, move the goalposts, change the rules.

For several years now, a series of would-be wireless broadband service providers have been attempting to convince the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to repurpose radio frequency spectrum near the GPS L1 band.

Past efforts have failed because of the transmissions’ demonstrated harmful effects on GPS and other GNSS signals. Now a new contender is trying to gain FCC’s approval by changing the way that those effects are measured.

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By Inside GNSS
May 19, 2016

Re-Baseline This!

So, if everything had gone as planned, we would have a new ground control segment (OCX) operating a new generation of satellites (GPS III) as they launch into an expanded constellation in support of modernized military GPS user equipment (MGUE).

But then the best-laid plans. . . .

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By Inside GNSS
March 28, 2016

Up in the AIRR

Anyone who has sat through several iterations of a slide presentation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) can’t help but wonder if there isn’t a better way to do things.

As speakers flip through an exhaustively vetted series of PowerPoint slides, squeezing out a new bullet point or two from one version to the next six months later, watching paint dry seems like a more productive — and briefer — use of one’s time. The agency sometimes brings a whole new meaning to the concept of geological time.

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By Dee Ann Divis
January 27, 2016

Making Good Better

SBAS and RNSS: The Unsung Heroes of GNSS

Okay, if I had wanted to pander to GNSS fans, I might have called this, “Making Great Greater.”

But there are only so many superlatives that can be lathered on this remarkable technology before simple praise turns into hagiography.

So, it’s time once more to give a little love to those unsung heroes of GNSS: the augmentations and regional navigation satellite systems.

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By Inside GNSS
November 29, 2015

Failure to Communicate

For an organization with its name, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a remarkably opaque public entity. 

Such is the case with the agency’s inaction on requests by foreign GNSS services to waive the so-called FCC Part 25 rules that require licensing of non-Federal receive-only Earth stations (e.g., GNSS receivers) operating with non-U.S. licensed space stations (i.e., satellites). 

Although at least one such request has reportedly been submitted, the FCC has not even acknowledged it, let alone moved to render a decision on the request. 

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By Inside GNSS
September 7, 2015

Let Us Now Praise

When China joined the GNSS club in 2007, it turned a satnav triumvirate into a quartet.

But some of the limelight needs to fall a little further from center stage — out there where the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) and Japan’s Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) are not waiting idly in the wings.

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By Inside GNSS
July 20, 2015

Premature Farewell to GPS

There is nothing wrong with provocative, even disruptive, speech or ideas. Turning the world upside down every now and then can shake loose useful innovation along with the shopping lists and pocket change.

But U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s recently revealed comments on GPS (see 360 Degrees article) seem more in the category of “Loose lips sink ships.”

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By Inside GNSS