GNSS Hotspots | January 2016 - Inside GNSS - Global Navigation Satellite Systems Engineering, Policy, and Design

GNSS Hotspots | January 2016

One of 12 magnetograms recorded at Greenwich Observatory during the Great Geomagnetic Storm of 1859
1996 soccer game in the Midwest, (Rick Dikeman image)
Nouméa ground station after the flood
A pencil and a coffee cup show the size of NASA’s teeny tiny PhoneSat
Bonus Hotspot: Naro Tartaruga AUV
Pacific lamprey spawning (photo by Jeremy Monroe, Fresh Waters Illustrated)
“Return of the Bucentaurn to the Molo on Ascension Day”, by (Giovanni Antonio Canal) Canaletto
The U.S. Naval Observatory Alternate Master Clock at 2nd Space Operations Squadron, Schriever AFB in Colorado. This photo was taken in January, 2006 during the addition of a leap second. The USNO master clocks control GPS timing. They are accurate to within one second every 20 million years (Satellites are so picky! Humans, on the other hand, just want to know if we’re too late for lunch) USAF photo by A1C Jason Ridder.
Detail of Compass/ BeiDou2 system diagram
Hotspot 6: Beluga A300 600ST

Catching thieves in California, Galileo satellites test Einstein, Russian space agency remodel, and 911 training for operators who can’t read maps.

Catching thieves in California, Galileo satellites test Einstein, Russian space agency remodel, and 911 training for operators who can’t read maps.

Arcadia, California USA
√ Porch package delivery bandits have met their match. Police northeast of Los Angeles partnered with citizens and local businesses to bait certain alluring packages with GPS tracking devices that notify police when they have been stolen. Police Sgt. Brett Bourgeous says they have arrested numerous suspects who fell for the decoys. Even some real stolen packages were recovered and returned to their intended recipients.

Germany, France, and MEO

√ German and French physicists are repurposing two Galileo satellites to test Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The European Space Agency’s Galileo V and VI satellites were launched into “very eccentric” orbits in 2014, due to a technical glitch. For the next year, researchers will see if rubidium atomic clocks on the satellites tick more slowly — in microseconds — the closer they are to Earth. This will test gravitational redshift or the gravitational time relation, a “very basic prediction of general relativity,” says Sven Hermann, an experimental physicist at the University of Bremen. Eccentric orbits and Einstein? Seems like a happy match.

Moscow, Russia
√ President Vladimir Putin dissolved the Russian Federal Space Agency, effective January 1, after numerous scandals and mishandled launches. Its functions will merge with those of a state-owned, centrally managed company — United Rocket and Space Corporation established in 2013 — to create a “unified command structure and reduce redundant capabilities.” But the more things change, etc. The new all-in-one state corporation responsible for the whole space sector, soup to nuts, will still be known as Roscosmos.

4. 911 AND GPS
Nationwide, U.S.A
√ Where did that old mill used to be, anyway? Reliance on GPS is starting to cause worry among emergency dispatch agencies and their operators. With the new workforce unfamiliar with map-reading, and no long-term memory of landmarks due to satellite navigation, dispatchers can be at a loss to locate a frantic cell phone caller who is in a locally known but hard-to-map area — or if systems are down. Training is starting up in some areas to address the issue. In September of last year, the police commissioner in Staten Island ordered dispatchers to undergo retraining after a 911 caller claimed the operator she reached had no knowledge of the Staten Island Railway.