The Year’s Top Stories from Inside GNSS

If the readership of insidegnss.com news is any indication, 2011 was the year of LightSquared.

Articles about the would-be wireless broadband company that wants FCC approval to set up a terrestrial network transmitting on frequencies next door to GPS and other GNSS L1 signals garnered the most page views on our website for 6 out of 12 months.


If the readership of insidegnss.com news is any indication, 2011 was the year of LightSquared.

Articles about the would-be wireless broadband company that wants FCC approval to set up a terrestrial network transmitting on frequencies next door to GPS and other GNSS L1 signals garnered the most page views on our website for 6 out of 12 months.

Only such matters as Wikileaks, a Supreme Court case, the Compass/BeiDou ICD, or Galileo’s first IOV launch could break the spell of the continuing LightSquared vs. GPS saga. We reprise those popular news items below. 

JANUARY
OHB-System Disclaims Wikileaks Report of CEO Comments on Galileo
January 16, 2011 – OHB-System AG, builder of Galileo navigation satellites, has issued a statement from its chairman denying a WikiLeaks report that the German company’s CEO had told U.S. embassy officials that the European GNSS program was a "stupid idea" and "a waste of EU tax payers money.

FEBRUARY
GPS/GNSS Community Feels New Telecom Interference Threat from LightSquared
January 30, 2011 – In his State of the Union address on January 25, President Obama held up the Global Positioning System as a prime example of government providing "cutting-edge scientists and inventors with the support they need" to create world-leading, job-creating innovation.

MARCH
LightSquared GPS Working Group Sends FCC Its First Report on Interference Assessment
March 16, 2011 – Yesterday a working group mandated by the FCC waiver to address the potential LightSquared/GPS interference issue delivered its first monthly report required by the FCC.

APRIL
U.S. Department of Justice Seeks Supreme Court Review of GPS Surveillance Issue
April 16, 2011 – On April 15, 2011 the Obama administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the question of whether prolonged police surveillance using GNSS-aided tracking of a suspect requires a search warrant under the provisions of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

MAY
Air Traffic Control Modernization: FAA, NextGen, GNSS, and Avionics Equipage
April 30, 2011 – In between partisan confrontations around the 2011 federal budget and raising the U.S. debt limit, prospects are improving for federal legislation that would provide the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with a regular full-year budget for the first time since Fiscal Year 2007 – including support for completing the transition to a GNSS-driven air traffic control (ATC) system known as NextGen and a "public-private partnership" to equip aircraft with the needed avionics.

JUNE
Test Results: LightSquared Would Cause Serious Interference to GPS Receivers
May 28, 2011 – Tests of GPS receiver vulnerability to transmissions from terrestrial base stations in the proposed LightSquared 4G/LTE broadband service were scheduled to wrap up on May 27, but results as we post this message clearly indicate substantial adverse effects on GPS user equipment.

JULY
LightSquared GPS Interference Report and Recommendation to FCC Fuels the Fight
July 1, 2011 – LightSquared submitted a 318-page report to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) yesterday on the months-long effort of a technical working group (TWG) to investigate the effects of the would-be cellular broadband company’s terrestrial transmitters on GPS receivers operating in an adjacent RF band.

AUGUST
GPS Interference Test Results May Not Slow FCC Decision on LightSquared Deal
July 29, 2011 – Having apparently exhausted themselves debating a subject that a majority of Americans considered a non-priority – raising the debt ceiling – the U.S. Congress adjourned for summer recess on August 1, automatically cancelling two House hearings (discussed later in this article) that had been scheduled on the LightSquared/GPS interference issue.

SEPTEMBER
LightSquared Would Jam GPS, Defense Officials Tell Congress
September 15, 2011 – Amidst a storm of political controversy and the conspicuous absence of a key administration witness, Department of Defense (DoD) officials told members of Congress today that a proposed broadband wireless service would degrade or render useless billions of dollars of equipment essential to military operations.

OCTOBER
Galileo: At Long Last, Launch
October 14, 2011 – Launch of two Galileo in-orbit validation (IOV) satellites next week will bring Europe’s long-awaited (and much-delayed)GNSS program into a new phase. 

NOVEMBER
GPS Timing Used in Experiment to Measure ‘Faster Than Light’ Particles
November 17, 2011 – No sooner had GPS positioning helped validate key aspects of Einstein’s general theory of relativity in the Gravity Probe-B program than GPS timing has been cited as helping bring his special theory of relativity into doubt. 

DECEMBER
China launches 10th Compass Beidou-2 Navigation Satellite into Geosynchronous Orbit
December 2, 2011 – China launched its 10th Compass/ BeiDou-2 GNSS satellite this morning. This is the third Compass satellite launched this year and the fifth placed into an inclined geosynchronous orbit.