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May 25, 2009

GAO Report on GPS Satellite Constellation Status: The Pushback

Two weeks after a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report warned of potential gaps in the GPS satellite constellation, reassurances from Department of Defense (DoD), U.S. Air Force, GPS program officials, and industry are slowly restoring calm to an anxious public.

Coupled with a May 7 congressional hearing (and subsequent media coverage) that fanned the flames, the report described scenarios — for instance a two-year setback in launching the first GPS III spacecraft — that could lead to deterioration in the quality of GPS service due to delays in building new generations of satellites and past program management problems. The news coverage drew primarily on the GAO report and prepared statements presented at the hearing and not on the much more interesting dialog with subcommittee members captured on video or on the assumptions and methodology underlying the constellation analysis.

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By Inside GNSS
May 21, 2009

New Leaders to Gather for First Obama-Era PNT ExCom Meeting

Mike Shaw, NCO Executive Director

A June 18 meeting of the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Executive Committee (ExCom) will bring together leaders of the Obama administration in the key interagency setting for GPS issues.

Established under a 2004 National Presidential Security Directive, the ExCom advises and coordinates federal departments and agencies on matters concerning the Global Positioning System and related systems. The deputy secretaries of defense and transportation and co-chair the committee, which includes equivalent-level members from seven other federal agencies.

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By Inside GNSS

GPS III Passes Preliminary Design Review

GPS IIIA. Lockheed Martin graphic

The Lockheed Martin team developing the next-generation GPS III satellites has successfully completed a major program milestone, the preliminary design review (PDR) conducted by the U.S. Air Force’s GPS Wing.

Underlining the importance placed on meeting a 2014 first-launch schedule, nearly 150 representatives from the GPS Wing and user communities, including representatives from the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Space Command, the Department of Transportation, and the Federal Aviation Agency participated in the four-day Space Vehicle PDR at Lockheed Martin Space Systems facilities in Newtown, Pennsylvania.

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By Inside GNSS
April 26, 2009

Loctronix Gains Patent for Its Spectral Compression Positioning, Tracks CDMA, GNSS

Loctronix SCP technology

[Updated 4/26/09] On March 31, the U.S. Patent Office granted Loctronix Corporation its first patent, which will provide the foundation for its Spectral Compression Positioning (SCP) technology that enables multi-source positioning capability in a single sensor. Subsequently, the company announced that it had successfully achieved meter-level ranging performance using CDMA cellular signals.

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By Inside GNSS
March 31, 2009

An Expanding CAST Navigation Moves to New Facilities

CAST Navigation LLC is relocating to expanded facilities as a result of increased demand for the company’s GPS simulators, GPS/INS navigation test equipment, and embedded GPS/inertial (EGI) integration tools.

Effective April 20, the new physical location for the CAST Navigation team will be: One Highwood Drive, Suite 100, Tewksbury, MA 01876. Phone contact is 978-858-0130. Faxes may be sent to 978-858-0170; website, <www.castnav.com>.

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By Inside GNSS
January 9, 2009

Gates Backs Lynn for Key Defense Post

William J. Lynn III

(Updated Jan.26) President Barack Obama’s nomination of William J. Lynn III, a senior vice-president at Raytheon Corporation, for deputy secretary of defense and his granting Lynn a waiver from the new administration’s own rules on former lobbyists has provoked considerable criticism from some quarters.

As the number two official in the Department of Defense (DoD), Lynn would report directly to Robert Gates, the current secretary of defense who has continued in that position in the new administration, the only holdover from ex-President Bush’s cabinet. Gates has come out strongly in support of Lynn, saying that he requested the waiver from the president.

Among other responsibilities, the deputy secretary serves as the co-chair of
the Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Executive
Committee (ExCom). Lynn would succeed Gordon England, who has paid a lot of attention to GPS during his term in office and enhanced the role of the PNT ExCom as an arbiter and advocate for the GPS program throughout the federal government.

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By Glen Gibbons
October 2, 2008

Next JAMFEST Rescheduled to January 2009

The 746th Test Squadron (746 TS) will conduct its sixth JAMFEST, an innovative GPS jamming exercise at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), New Mexico, in mid-January, 2009 — a rescheduling of the event that had been planned to take place next month.

JAMFEST programs are aimed at providing low-cost, realistic, GPS jamming scenarios for testing GPS-based navigation systems, as well as training personnel in unique GPS denied environments.

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By Glen Gibbons

Raytheon Garners JPALS Contract

The Raytheon Company has been awarded a $232.8 million contract for the system development and demonstration phase of the GPS-based Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) program for shipboard applications.

JPALS provides all-weather shipboard landing capability to assist the Navy with pinpoint landing accuracy on aircraft carriers. The team, led by Raytheon Network Centric Systems, includes Rockwell Collins, Northrop Grumman, and SAIC.

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By Glen Gibbons