Dec 2015 | No Comment

GSA Announces Horizon 2020 European GNSS Grants

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) has announced on October 27, 2015 the evaluation results of its second Horizon 2020 call for Galileo applications. Some 13 projects made the main list to be funded, receiving grants totaling nearly €24.9 million (US$27.5 million).

In its second round, Horizon 2020, which represents the European Union’s framework program for research and innovation, focused on “innovation actions” and received 91 total submissions. Funding went to those proposals that best showed “a significant focus toward impacting global markets with strong innovation and the incorporation of new knowledge,” according to the GSA. The teams associated with the 13 selected proposals comprise 95 different participants that will receive funding this round.

Of the 91 submissions, 45 fell under the category of European GNSS (E-GNSS) applications, 31 under the topic of Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Based European GNSS applications, and 15 under the topic of “releasing the potential of European GNSS applications through international cooperation.” E-GNSS applications received the lion’s share of funds: eight projects covering transport, surveying, LBS, agriculture, emergency services, and other professional applications were recommended to receive nearly €20.4 million.

Three SME-based E-GNSS projects were approved for €2.9 million in funding, addressing applications in niche markets and business models, mass market LBS products, market testing, and so on. Two projects were awarded €2.7 million to develop innovative international applications highlighting E-GNSS services.

Two Galileo satellites arrive in French Guiana for Arianespace’s year-ending Soyuz mission

The satellites for Arianespace’s 12th flight in 2015 – which will close out the company’s record year of launch activity – have arrived in French Guiana with delivery of the latest two European Galileo navigation platforms to be lofted by Soyuz. Scheduled for sometime in December, the upcoming medium-lift Soyuz mission with its pair of Galileo satellites will conclude Arianespace’s busiest launch activity year ever involving all three members of its launcher family – which also includes the heavy-lift Ariane 5 and lightweight Vega.

China to set up BDS international maritime surveillance centre

China is planning to build an international maritime surveillance centre in its major Tianjin port city to monitor and assess the accuracy of BEIDOU. The surveillance centre will monitor and assess the accuracy, operating situation and signal quality of the system and report to users on the sea, ensuring high quality BDS service,” said Chai Jinzhu, an official with the ministry’s north China sea maritime insurance centre.

Under an arrangement made by the Maritime Safety Administration, the north China sea maritime insurance centre has been working on the construction and operation of the surveillance centre.

Magnetic protein may provide animals with navigation information

Although the ability of biological entities to register magnetic fields is fairly well accepted, the means by which they do so hasn’t been definitively identified. A lot of attention has focused on cases where small clusters of iron are formed within cells. But researchers in China figured that a protein might exist that could act as a magnetic sensor. So they screened the Drosophila genome for one that fit the bill—and found it.

A couple of different models have been postulated to explain the biological basis of magnetosensing. Cryptochromes (Cry) are light-sensing proteins used by birds to orient and navigate using the Earth’s magnetic field. Although these can sense the inclination of the geomagnetic field, they cannot detect polarity and thus cannot function as a compass.

Scientists thus assumed that another protein must be involved, likely one that binds to iron (which can detect polarity and thus can function as a compass). So they scanned a database of the Drosophila genome for genes encoding proteins that (a) bind to iron; (b) are expressed in the head (where Cry is); and (c) are found within the cell, rather than on the cell membrane (again, that’s where Cry is). They identified nine candidates in this in silico search, but only one bound to the Drosophila cryptochrome. Bingo: the Drosophila magnetoreceptor protein, dMagR.

Like cryptochromes, genes for MagR are found in all animal species. In addition to Drosophila, Cry/MagR complexes were found in butterflies, pigeons, mole rats, minke whales, and humans. Further examination of the complex purified from pigeon retina revealed that it consists of a linear core of iron-containing MagR 46 proteins surrounded by a sheath of Cry proteins. As a unit, the complex acts as a light-dependent biocompass, capable of detecting the polarity, intensity, and inclination of the Earth’s geomagnetic field. It has an intrinsic magnetic moment, as verified by the fact that it orients parallel to an enhanced external magnetic field.

GPS Ground System security upgraded

The ground system for the U.S. Air Force’s PNT satellites recently received a software update and security upgrade under a two-year-old contract with Lockheed Martin. Known as the GPS Intrusion Protection Reinforcement, the updates enable greater data protection within the Air Force’s current Operational Control Segment, which serves as the ground system for the Air Force’s GPS satellites. The updates also resolve equipment obsolescence issues.

ULA drops out of GPS III launch competition

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) send-off of the 12th GPS Block IIF satellite scheduled for next February 3 may turn out to be the last GPS launch for the Boeing/Lockheed Martin joint venture — at least for a while.

ULA did not submit a bid to launch of GPS III

In a statement released on November 16, ULA said that it would be “unable to submit a compliant bid for GPS III-X launch services.” The company blamed its decision on the lack of Atlas rockets due to restrictions imposed by the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which continued a ban on Russian-built RD-180 engines imposed following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Russia’s Glonass-M navigation satellite planned for launch in late December

The Russian navigation satellite Glonass-M is planned for launch from the Plesetsk space center in north Russia in late December. The satellite will be orbited by a Soyuz-2 carrier rocket with the Fregat booster. The Glonass-M satellite, which has No. 51, will replace the satellite that has operated for three years above the warranty term in the Russian navigational orbital grouping.

Azerbaijan can join Russia’s GLONASS system

Azerbaijan doesn’t rule out the possibility of joining Russia’s GLONASS satellite navigation system in the future, head of Azercosmos JSC Rashad Nabiyev said.

Azerbaijan’s participation in this project is not currently on the agenda, but it is well possible if the sides reach a corresponding agreement, he added.

Russia to Install 48 Glonass Navigation Stations in 36 Countries

“The installation of 48 GLONASS measurement stations are in Russia’s plans in the country and abroad and it’s planned that 36 countries will begin in cooperation,” Oleg Gorshkov said recently during an innovative technologies forum in Moscow.

Karutin Named General Designer of GLONASS Program

Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved the appointment of Sergey Karutin, deputy director of the Central Research Institute of Machine Building and head of its PNT Center responsible for GLONASS operations, to serve as the new general designer of the Russian GNSS program.

In his new role, Karutin will undertake the “comprehensive work of further developing the system,” according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in charge of the nation’s defense and space industry.

His position is one of 21 supervisors of key Russian scientific and military projects who will be included in the Military-Industrial Commission of the Russian Federation.

GPS for autistic boys during school in the US

The Long Island parents of two autistic boys have outfitted their sons with GPS tracking devices to wear at school in case they run away.

Brian and Dayann McDonough say their sons have wandered from home and school repeatedly. The Merrick parents initially were met with resistance from school officials who were concerned about how the GPS devices would affect other students’ privacy.

North Merrick school officials now say they’re allowing the use of the devices as long as there’s no audio element that could jeopardize confidentiality to special education students.

The devices can send a text and email notification of a location change.

Air Force launches 11th GPS IIF satellite

The Air Force successfully launched the 11th GPS IIF satellite into orbit Oct. 31, according to Air Force Space Command.

The Boeing-built satellite was launched at 12:13 p.m. Eastern Time from Cape Canaveral Launch Station 41 in Florida using an Atlas V 401 launch vehicle.

In addition to the GPS IIF satellites, Space Command has GPS IIAs, 12 GPS IIRs and seven GPS IIR-Ms in orbit. These satellites are operated by Air Force Space Command’s 50th Space Wing at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. Space command plans to launch one more GPS IIF satellite. Testing is underway for the GPS III satellite, which prime contractor Lockheed Martin vows will have three times better accuracy and eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities, and it should be the first GPS satellite that will be interoperable with other global navigation satellite systems. But the launch of the first GPS III satellite has been delayed until 2017 because of problems with the satellites’ navigation system, which is being built by subcontractor Exelis.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.