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Washington View

May 1, 2016

FCC Opens GPS-Adjacent Ligado Proposal for Comment

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is officially asking for feedback on a proposal by Ligado Networks to repurpose frequencies near the GPS band for a terrestrial broadband network. The long-delayed public notice and comment period is a step in the approval process, although there is no assurance that Ligado’s plan for a new wireless service — which may still cause interference to GPS receivers — will get the go-ahead.

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By Dee Ann Divis
March 18, 2016

How Privatizing Air Traffic Control Could Affect Satellite Navigation’s Role in Aviation

The satellite-based NextGen program is in trouble — no question about it.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic modernization effort will likely cost triple its original $40-billion program budget and need an extra decade — until 2035 or beyond — to reach completion, according to 2014 testimony by Department of Transportation (DoT) Inspector General Calvin Scovel.

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By Dee Ann Divis
September 7, 2015

New Fiscal Year Begins with Unfinished GPS Business

Most folks look to a new year as an opportunity for fresh starts and new projects. For the GPS community, however, the October 1 start of the 2016 federal fiscal year (FY16) will likely be more about the hangover — that is, the issues that are hanging over into the next 12 months, unresolved.

At the top of that list of unfinished business are two system decisions: a go/no-go determination on whether the United States will build eLoran as the U.S. backup to GPS and deciding whether or not to choose a new contractor for the GPS III program.

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By Dee Ann Divis
July 20, 2015

Officials Delay First GNSS Authorization Request; Light-Squared Tries to Leverage Issue

The U.S. stance on satellite navigation has long supported international cooperation and a degree of interoperability. In 2010 the Obama administration even adopted a space policy that said foreign satnav services could be used “to augment and strengthen the resiliency of GPS.”

That was easier in the abstract, however, when the only fully functional GNSS was GPS. Now, with other GNSS services coming online, American officials want to think things through again.

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By Dee Ann Divis
January 16, 2015

FCC Raises Questions about U.S. Access to Non-GPS GNSS

No reality show contestant ever neared the finish line without the producers serving up another challenge. And so it is for would-be multi-GNSS users in the United States.

After dodging budget cuts, thwarting other teams’ attempts to grab critical frequencies, and dealing with jamming and technical problems, members of the U.S. GNSS community were thrown another curve late last year when they learned that signals from GLONASS and other international constellations must be authorized for use in the United States.

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By Dee Ann Divis
November 17, 2014

Higher Aspirations for GNSS

GPS Space Service Volume (SSV) Requirements/Performance Parameters

New space missions such as the robotic repair and recovery of damaged or errant communication satellites may become possible with the aid of an emerging class of receivers that is able to use GPS signals for navigation in orbits thousands of kilometers above the middle Earth orbit (MEO) GPS constellation itself.

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By Dee Ann Divis
September 24, 2014

OCX Program Restructured, Delayed Again

Editor’s Note: An exclusive interview with Gen. Hyten is available here with more details.

Details are emerging about another restructuring of the contract for the new GPS ground system, a deal that pushes completion of the project back another two years and recasts the remaining work to fit within the Air Force’s strained financial profile.

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By Dee Ann Divis
July 21, 2014

New Leaders at the GPS Helm

Washington, D.C., has a peculiarity of seasons. While most of the world marks the shifts between winter and spring, summer and autumn, the politicos on the streets of the U.S. capital count the passage of time in two-year increments.

New operatives and appointees flock to the centers of power in the early days of each administration and the opening of each Congress, then migrate to friendlier climes as congressional elections loom and the administration winds down — as it is now.

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By Dee Ann Divis
May 6, 2014

DoD Condenses Acquisition Strategy to Speed M-Code Units

A shift in the Air Force’s acquisition plan should shave a year off the time needed to finish development of new M-code–equipped receivers and potentially inspire more commercially flavored innovation — and perhaps even the entry of new vendors.

The new approach enables the Pentagon to fulfill a congressional mandate to buy only M-code receivers after fiscal year 2017 and could help convince the user community, jaded by previous delays, to speed adoption of the more resilient devices.

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By Dee Ann Divis
March 23, 2014

GPS Modernization Stalls

With the optimism of college-bound seniors touring the Ivy League, GPS managers have been weighing options to dramatically change the GPS constellation. Now, after studying the costs, considering the benefits, and assessing the funding climate, officials have made the starkly fiscal decision to stick close to home and take a few extra years to finish. 

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By Dee Ann Divis