Mar 2016 | No Comment

GPS error caused ‘12 hours of problems’ for companies

Several companies were hit by hours of system warnings after 15 GPS satellites broadcast the wrong time, according to time-monitoring company Chronos. The company observed problems last week, after noticing some GPS time signals were 13 microseconds out. Such a discrepancy is considered severe and several Chronos telecoms clients faced “12 hours” of system errors.

Previously, the GPS errors had also been blamed for disturbances with BBC radio broadcasts. According to the US Air Force (USAF), which manages the GPS satellite network, problems began when a satellite named SVN 23 was decommissioned. A USAF spokeswoman confirmed that the error had been pushed to the satellites by “ground system software”.

CASA updates aerial GNSS requirements

Australia’s governing body for aviation, CASA, is implementing new regulations and aircraft equipment mandates to align Australian operations with global standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Under CASA’s guidelines, Australia will adopt GNSS-based Performance- Based Navigation (PBN) in accordance with the ICAO Global Air Navigation Plan. PBN uses area navigation and will provide more direct and effi cient routes compared to those based on conventional ground-based navigation aids. The new rules also contain a number of equipment mandates between 12 December 2013 and 2 February 2017 and affect all Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) pilots and aircraft operating in Australia. GNSS is the enabling technology for both PBN and automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) in Australia and will affect all IFR aircraft.

Singapore partners Chinese association to develop satnav tech

Singapore Space and Technology Association (SSTA) and GNSS&LBS Association of China (GLAC) recently signed MoU to formalise their partnership for industry development. The partnership aims to advance the development of integrated space capabilities in the area of navigational satellite technology. The partnership will include co-building a common platform for navigational satellite experts from both associations for knowledge sharing, conducting joint research projects and to identify opportunities to commercialise such projects together.

New Global Positioning Spacecraft for Glonass

Russia continues to develop new generation spacecraft for its Glonass, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said. “Work continues on creating and testing new generation spacecraft, which will allow to signifi cantly increase the [Glonass] system’s accuracy characteristics by 2020”

U.S. could still cancel Raytheon GPS ground system

The Pentagon and the U.S. Air Force could still cancel the ground control system Raytheon Co is developing to operate new GPS satellites, if the company does not improve its performance on the troubled system, a top U.S. general said.

Lieutenant General Samuel Greaves, who heads the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, said officials were keeping close tabs on Raytheon’s GPS Operational Control System, or OCX, which he described as the Air Force’s “No. 1 troubled program.”

Officials have stopped short of cancelling the OCX program, which has seen costs double due to increased cyber requirements and poor contractor performance, citing the importance of the system. OCX will be the first satellite control system designed after the advent of significant jamming and other cyber threats. Raytheon spokesman Mike Doble said the company was committed to delivering “without compromise” the modernized ground system and meeting all program requirements as specifi ed by the Air Force. Greaves said the Air Force has alternatives in case it did have to cancel the Raytheon program.

New Air Force satellites launched to improve GPS

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully launched a Boeing-built satellite into orbit as part of the U.S. GPS, last month. This $131 million satellite was the final addition to the Air Force’s most recent 12-satellite GPS series, known as the Block IIF satellites. We can all access GPS from our phones because of this very constellation.

New MEO BeiDou Satellite launched

China successfully completed its first BeiDou launch of the year, lifting a new-generation satellite into orbit on February 1, 2016 and adding to its 17 operational spacecraft in the nation’s GNSS constellation. The fifth of the new series, the middle-Earth-orbiting (MEO) satellite will join its four predecessors in testing inter-satellite crosslinks and a new navigation payload that will set the framework and technical standards for global coverage, according to the Xinhua state news agency. By the end of 2018, another 18 satellites will be put into orbit for Beidou’s navigation service, said Chengqi Ran, director of the China Satellite Navigation Office.

GPS to keep check on mineral transport

The Orissa government in India will introduce by August a GPS-based vehicle tracking system for vehicles carrying minerals, according to a decision taken at meeting of the state-level task force on mining chaired by Chief Secretary AP Padhi here. “It was decided to make installation of GPS mandatory for all mineral-carrying vehicles by August. The Orissa Space Applications Centre (ORSAC) has prepared a proposal in this regard, which was approved by the government,” mines director Deepak Mohanty said.

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