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system infrastructure/technology

June 23, 2010

Russian Company Offers ‘Preliminary’ Specifications for GLONASS CDMA Signal

Illustration of GLONASS-K satellite

A provisional specification for the planned GLONASS CDMA signal has been defined and is available to receiver manufacturers interested in experimenting with the demonstration signal that will be broadcast from the GLONASS-K satellite to be flight-tested later this year.

Mark Shmulevich, head of business development for Russian Space Systems (RSS), extended the offer at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation GNSS Implementation Team (APEC-GIT) meeting in Seattle, Washington, this week. RSS is an amalgamation of 10 former Russian federal state unitary enterprises — that is, government corporations — and other Russian institutes and agencies established last year, with the former Russian Institute of Space Device Engineering (RISDE) serving as the lead.

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By Inside GNSS
June 22, 2010

Lockheed Martin Team Completes Requirements Review for GPS IIIB Program

Lockheed Martin has announced successful completion of a key requirements review for the GPS IIIB satellite series under the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation GPS III Space Segment program.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Newtown, Pennsylvania, is working under a $3 billion development and production contract from the U.S. Air Force to produce up to 12 GPS IIIA satellites, with first launch projected for 2014. The contract includes a Capability Insertion Program (CIP) designed to mature technologies and perform rigorous systems engineering for the future IIIB and IIIC increments planned as follow-on procurements.

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By Inside GNSS
June 15, 2010

ITT Passes GPS III Nav Component CDR

ITT Corporation has announced that it passed a key milestone last month with successful completion of the critical design review (CDR) for the Mission Data Unit (MDU) the company is developing as part of the navigation payload for the U.S. Air Force’s GPS III program.

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By Inside GNSS
June 7, 2010

DLR, Stanford Track First GPS IIF Signals; Tests Begin on L5

GPS IIF SV1 Spectral Flux Density on L1. DLR figure

[Updated June 10] The U.S. Air Force announced today (June 10) that it has begun
testing the new operational L5 signal transmitted by the first GPS IIF satellite (space vehicle 1 or SV1 — designated SVN-62 in the overall GPS system), which was launched May 27.

On June 7, 2010, a team of experts from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Stanford University in California reported results of their tracking of the first navigation signals from the satellite, the pseudorandom noise code 25 (PRN25) on L1 and L2 — C/A and P(Y).

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By Inside GNSS
June 3, 2010

China Begins Broadcasts on Latest Compass GNSS GEO Satellite

A Compass/Beidou-2 geostationary satellite is lifted into space from China’s Xichang space center. (China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology photo)

[Updated June 11] China has begun transmitting signals on three frequencies from the Compass G3 satellite launched into geostationary orbit (GEO) on June 2. G3 is the third Compass (Beidou-2) GEO and the second such launch this year. The three GEOS and a a middle-earth-orbiting (MEO) spacecraft launched in 2007 comprise the constellations of China’s second-generation GNSS system now under development.

Chinese officials announced that the Compass G3 had reached its geostationary position at 84.6° E longitude on June 7. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has been able to capture the first nominal navigation signals of Beidou G-3.

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By Inside GNSS
May 8, 2010

Space Weather Workshop Highlights Coming Solar Cycle Effects on GNSS

Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft. NASA image

This year’s Space Weather Workshop — held April 27–30 in Boulder, Colorado — reflected a heightened interest in the space environment due to solar effects on GPS and other GNSSes. A solar storm is suspected to have caused the anomaly in Intelsat’s Galaxy 15 communications satellite that carries a transponder for the GPS Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS),

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By Inside GNSS
April 10, 2010

GNSS Opportunities Help Drive UK to Set Up National Space Agency

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown visits the Geospatial Building at the University of Nottingham. Photo courtesy of GRACE

(This article first appeared in the March 31 Inside GNSS SIGNALS eNewsletter)

Driven in part by a prestigious Space Innovation and Growth Strategy (Space IGS) report suggesting that the nation has lost both the best industrial work and the ability to influence programs such as Galileo, the United Kingdom will establish a new national space agency on April 1.

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By Inside GNSS
March 29, 2010

European GNSS Supervisory Authority Launches EGNOS Portal

A DGAC ATR42 test aircraft lands at Limoges airport during EGNOS trials. (ESA photo)

The European GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA), on behalf of the European Commission, has launched an Internet portal for the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) designed to help developers and entrepreneurs vying for a slice of the emerging satellite navigation market.

The European counterpart to the U.S. GPS Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), EGNOS is a satellite-based augmentation system that provides real-time differential corrections and integrity information about GPS operations.

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By Inside GNSS
March 19, 2010

The Weilheim Dish — Keeping an Eye on Galileo

From left, Johann Furthner, Walter Päffgen (managing director of Galileo Control Center), and Steffen Thölert

Up close and personal, the curved aluminum antenna dish at Weilheim — painted white and aimed vaguely skyward, with a big Krupp corporate logo on the front — looked a lot bigger than 30 meters across. And when we climbed up the steel stairs to the platform half-way up the dish, the ground looked a lot further away than 20 meters.

And that was before Peter, overseeing the DLR facility this late winter afternoon, flipped the switch and set the antenna in motion  — 240 degrees each direction horizontally, 90 degrees in the vertical.

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By Inside GNSS