GPS News


Feb 2011 | No Comment


Japan keen to own navigation satellite system

Japan is considering launching new satellites to establish its own global navigation satellite system (GNSS) in a bid to reduce its reliance on GPS network. The country aims to make it 10 times more accurate than GPS. The satellites would be of the same type as the so-called quasi-zenith satellite, Michibiki, or of a geostationary type. The project is being drafted by the Strategic Headquarters for Space Development headed by Naoto Kan, Prime Minister, Japan. The government is likely to finalise the plan in August, 2011. The project is expected to cost as much as 200 billion yen and it will be public-private venture.

Japan to offer Michibiki satellite signal free

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Science and Technology Ministry, Japan, is considering to make signals from its Michibiki navigation satellite available free of charge to Australia and South Korea. JAXA will sign agreements with the Korea Aerospace Research Institute and the government and universities in Australia and provide receivers from this spring. In Japan, the technology, which can be used for agricultural production and information devices, is estimated to create a market with annual sales of up to 1 trillion yen (USD 12.02 billion) for receivers, data processing software and other related hardware and software, the daily reported.


Michibiki satellite improves GPS accuracy to 3cm

A new technology developed by Mitsubishi and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) improves accuracy of GPS (which is approximately 10cm) to 3cm. This record for a non-military system was achieved during a recent public test in Japan, with a car driving at 20km/h. JAXA and Mitsubishi claim former tests have shown their system maintains its accuracy with cars even driving up to 80km/h. The makers also say that because Michibiki satellite can cover Japan for just eight hours a day, two more satellites are needed to provide high-quality GPS for 24 hours.

50th Space Wing completes Phase 1 of E24

The 50th Space Wing has announced the completion of phase one of a two phase GPS constellation expansion known as “Expandable 24.” When fully complete, this expansion will increase global GPS coverage and provide civil, military and commercial GPS users with more robust satellite availability and a higher probability of signal acquisition in terrain challenged environments.
Expandable 24 is a U.S. Strategic Command commander directed initiative, executed by the wing, specifically the 2nd Space Operations Squadron, to reposition six satellites in the current GPS constellation. Phase one of Expandable-24 began Jan. 13, 2010 when 2 SOPS performed maneuvers to reposition three GPS satellites, one of which took 351 days to maneuver. The last of the satellites completed repositioning on Jan. 18, 2011.

GPS to curb government vehicle misuse in China

Government vehicles in China’s Guangzhou city will have GPS to curb misuse and reduce unnecessary expenditure. A satellite positioning terminal will be installed on each official vehicle and through GPS a government car’s position can be checked at any time and would show on the map.

US Air Force upgrades GPS software

The US Air Force officials from the 2nd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever AFB, Colorado, completed the Architecture Evolution Plan 5.6 software upload. “This AEP 5.6 is a small software update, bringing specific changes to support the upcoming IIF-2 launch,” said Col. Harold Martin, the acting Positioning, Navigation and Timing Command lead of the Air Force Space Command Directorate of Air, Space and Cyberspace Operations.

Russian officials feeling heat of failed satellite launch

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has formally reprimanded the chief of his country’s national space agency (Roscosmos) and fired two other high-ranking space officials over the loss of three state-of-the-art navigation satellites, according to a Kremlin (Russia Federal Government) statement. A follow-up investigation traced the failure to an embarrassing mistake: “Technicians apparently loaded the Proton rocket’s Block DM-3 upper stage with one to two tons more fuel than planned, which sent the booster off course.” A new series of Glonass satellite, the Glonass-K series, is currently in development, Russian space officials have said.

Russia to begin full- scale operations of GLONASS by July

Russian Federal Space Agency expects to start the full- scale operations of Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) by July 2011. “At present, GLONASS has 21 operational satellites among a total 26 satellites of the GLONASS-M type orbiting the Earth,” Itar Tass quoted Director Anatoly Perminov.

United Arab Emirates GNSS Applications Workshop

The United Nations International Committee on GNSS (ICG) and the U.S. State Department organized a workshop on GNSS applications recently. This was one in a series of workshops organized internationally by the UNOOSA and its various divisions to promote the use of satellite navigation applications. It was the first to be held in the Middle East.

India using precision surveying to solve border disputes

The border between the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan in India has been surveyed by government officials, to officially determine where the taxes of the people living in the border area should be paid. B V Bilwal, district land inspector, Sabarkantha, Gujarat, said the methods and equipment they were using to establish the definitive border – including GPS – had never been used before in India for such purposes.

GPS to check diesel adulteration in India

Oil minister S Jaipal Reddy has said his ministry will re-introduce chemical marker within six months to check diversion of subsidised kerosene for adulteration of diesel and ask states to fit satellite tracking systems on tankers used by civil supplies departments to ferry the poor man’s fuel.

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