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Feb 2016 | No Comment

India launches 5th navigation satellite

Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) has launched the fifth (IRNSS-1E) navigation satellite in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).

An XL version of a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C31) placed in orbit the satellite 19.36 minutes after lift-off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. Isro scientists said the indigenous navigation system will be fully operational in six months though all the seven satellites would be in orbit much earlier. “We have two more satellites in the series which we intend to launch in a couple of months,” said Isro chairman AS Kiran Kumar.

IRNSS will provide navigation and positioning services in areas that require high precision for aviation, marine navigation, rail transport and military applications. In six-months, Isro expects the system to be integrated with smartphones.

The four satellites, meanwhile, have been functioning from their designated orbital slots with an achieved position accuracy of 20m over 18 hours every day. They will be operational over 24 hours once the IRNSS configuration is complete. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Directorate releases GPS III Phase 1 Vendor Feasibility RFP

The GPS Directorate at the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) released a request for proposals on January 8, 2016 seeking proposals for the GPS III Space Vehicles 11+ Phase 1 Production Readiness Feasibility Assessment contract.

This solicitation is for a competitive firm- fixed-price acquisition with up to three contracts not-to-exceed $6 million, with a base contract of $5 million and a 26-month period of performance, plus two $0.5 million options with a six-month period of performance for each option awarded, for a total possible period of performance of 38 months. The RFP reflects the GPS program’s interesting in having options for the prime contractor to build the second tranche of GPS III spacecraft after Air Force officials became dissatisfied with delays in delivering the initial set of satellites. SMC’s GPS Directorate intends to award the GPS III Phase 1 contract in the third quarter of fiscal year 2016.

Oldest GPS navigation satellite to be retired with next launch

A new Global Positioning System craft will ride a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket into orbit next month to replace a satellite that has operated in space for 25 years.

The GPS 2A-10 spacecraft, launched aboard Delta 201 in 1990, will fade into retirement with the launch of GPS 2F-12, the latest satellite to join the navigation network.

Lockheed passes in GPS III thermal vacuum test

The long-awaited first satellite in the US Air Force’s GPS III program, has “successfully completed” its thermal vacuum test, wrote Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin‘s space systems on his Twitter account. Lockheed is contracted to develop eight GPS III satellites with options to build four additional satellites. The first GPS III satellite is scheduled for launch by 2017. The test is used to validate that the satellite can operate in extreme temperatures comparable to the space environment. EinNews

Govt seeks help from small companies to counter GPS jamming

The US federal government is seeking help from small firms to resolve some of its toughest GPS-related technology problems with many of the projects focusing on countering jamming while others endeavour to simplify signal acquisition and improve links within the constellation. And therefore, proposals for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts have been released by various agencies.

The Defense Department is looking for a ground-based system that can track multipath signals back to their source — enabling a new way to locate jammers in urban areas. Although multipath signals, that is, signals that have bounced off reflective surfaces, can confuse GPS receivers, recent research suggests that multipath can be used to help locate jammers.

The Department of Defense (DoD) is looking for a single-receiver solution able to detect and estimate the location of a jammer within 100 meters using this technique. If networked with other sensors the system should be able to estimate location within 10 meters.

Russia postpones launch of Glonass-M satellite

The launch of Russia’s navigation satellite Glonass-M No. 51 had to be postponed. Glonass-M No. 51 is to replace a satellite which is three years past the expiry date, the manufacturer said. The previous launch of a satellite of the Glonass-M family – the backbone of the national orbital cluster, took place in the summer of 2014. The Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems has eight such satellites in stock. http://tass.ru/en/

Russia to continue launching early warning defense satellites

The Russian military is believed to have launched the first early warning satellite for its new United Space System sometime in late 2015. Information about launches from the Plesetsk Comodrome is classified, although the military confirmed that the launch would be its second for the early warning system.

“In 2015, specialists from the Aerospace Force’s Space Forces launched 21 spacecraft, used for a variety of purposes, from the Plesetsk and Baikonur cosmodromes,” the ministry stated. The ground-based early warning system increased its satellite registry by 5,000 satellites in 2015, with 15,000 Russian and foreign satellites now tracked by the system.

“The missile attack early warning system detected 14 Russian and foreign missile launches in 2015,” the head of the Aerospace Forces’ 15th army, Gen. Maj. Anatoly Nestechuk said in October. http://sputniknews.com

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