[Updated June 3, 2013] With the budget vise tightening, top Pentagon managers are readying some potentially dramatic changes to the GPS constellation — changes that promise to lower both the cost of the satellites and the expense of putting them into orbit.
The first changes would be subtle and are linked to buying the next block of GPS III satellites — a decision that sources confirm will be made by the end of September.By Dee Ann Divis
When the European Space Agency launched its Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element-A (GIOVE-A) satellite in 2005, its main mission was to transmit Galileo test signals that secured the system’s frequencies, evaluate hardware under space environmental conditions, and so forth.By Inside GNSS
A redesign of the GPS satellites under development by Lockheed Martin will add a signal waveform generator, search and rescue payload, laser retroreflector array (LRA), and dual-launch capability beginning with Space Vehicle 9 (SV09).By Inside GNSS
Two European organizations announced successful positioning results yesterday (March 12, 2013) using signals from the four Galileo in-orbit validation (IOV) satellites.
The NavSAS group of Politecnico di Torino and Instituto Superiore Mario Boella in Turin, Italy, obtained its first Galileo autonomous position using signals from the Protoflight Model (PFM) and three Flight Model space vehicles (FM2, FM3, FM4), which have started transmitting valid navigation messages.By Inside GNSS
The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced a key milestone today (March 12, 2013) in the development of Europe’s GNSS program: the first determination of a ground location using the four Galileo satellites currently in orbit together with the system’s ground infrastructure.
This fundamental step confirms the Galileo system works as planned, according to ESA scientists.By Inside GNSS
Well, the lights work. So far, so good.
The Lockheed Martin team developing the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation GPS III satellites has turned on power to the system module of the program’s first spacecraft, designated GPS III Space Vehicle One (SV-1).
According to the prime contractor, the achievement is a key indication that the team is on track to deliver the first satellite for launch availability next year, although the actual first launch will probably take place in 2015.By Inside GNSS
The U.S. Air Force has awarded The Boeing Company a $51 million to continue modernizing the GPS satellite constellation for up to five more years. The contract covers GPS IIF satellite shipment to the launch site in Florida, pre-launch preparation, post-launch checkout, handover, and on-orbit support. It has an initial one-year term with four one-year options.By Inside GNSS
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has selected Surrey Satellite Technology US LLC (SST-US), of Englewood, Colorado, to investigate cost reduction and augmentation of the current GPS constellation through the application of a small satellite approach.
AFRL has contracted with SST-US to identify and analyze how small satellites can improve aspects of GPS system performance, such as accuracy, coverage, and robustness at costs far below those of past procurements.By Inside GNSS
The U.S. Air Force Space Command has awarded Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions–Defense a $100 million contract to upport the GPS ground control segment. The contract’s period of performance is from January 2013 through June 2019.By Inside GNSS
An experimental GPS receiver, built by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), has successfully achieved a GPS position fix at a 23,300-kilometer altitude — the first position fix above the GPS constellation on a civilian satellite, according to the company.
SSTL’s SGR-GEO receiver is collecting data that could help the company to develop a receiver to navigate spacecraft in geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) or even in deep space.By Inside GNSS
The sixth conference on Recent Advances in Space Technology (RAST 2013) will take place at the Harbiye Military Museum close to the Istanbul Convention Center (ICEC) in downtown Istanbul, Turkey. It will run from June 12 through June 14.By Inside GNSS