Oct 2017 | No Comment

ISRO working on substitute navigation satellite

A team from an industry consortium is being trained to assemble the IRNSS- 1I. Work has begun in Bengaluru to assemble a substitute navigation spacecraft, which became essential after the main backup was lost in a failed launch on August 31, 2017.

IRNSS-1I was earlier approved as a ground spare, to be sent to space in an emergency. The Indian Space Research Organisation has been training a team from an industry consortium to assemble this spacecraft and its lost fellow satellite, IRNSS-1H. Will there be another backup, an IRNSS-1J, and if so, who would assemble it? M. Annadurai, director of ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC), Bengaluru, said the current approval is for seven navigation spacecraft (all of which are in orbit) and two spares — IRNSS-1H and IRNSS-1I. Should a new backup be sought and approved, it may be part of another model of outsourcing of its satellites to the Indian industry. ISRO has just begun the process of identifying a set of external partners who would assemble its future satellites, he noted. Until now all Indian spacecraft have been assembled at ISAC by its engineers.

Is the Assembly of 1I being advanced? Back in December, the consortium of six industries was given six months to work on each spacecraft. The deadline for IRNSS- 1I was around May 2018. Dr. Annadurai said that as of now, the timeline was the same. The launch of 1I, when it was ready, would also have to align with ISRO’s other missions, he said.

China to launch four Beidou-3 satellites by the end of 2017

China-based Beidou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) vice chief designer Ran Chengqi said that four Beidou-3 satellites will be launched by late 2017. So far, the network construction of Beidou-1 and Bedou-2 navigation satellite systems has been finished. The system will cover countries and regions along the Belt and Road by next year.

China’s BeiDou-3 satellites get new chips

A new chip for the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) was unveiled recently by the GNSS & LBS Association of China (GLAC).

The chip supports the new generation of BeiDou-3 satellites for highprecision navigation and positioning. The positioning accuracy of the chip reaches the sub-meter level without ground-based augmentation. The chip, developed by Shenzhen-based Allystar Technology, also has uses in unmanned driving systems, wearable devices, precision agriculture and smart logistics. The value of the satellite navigation and LBS industry stood at 212 billion yuan (31 billion U.S. dollars) in 2016, up 22.1 percent from 2015, according to the GLAC. Core output totaled 80.8 billion yuan, 70 percent of which came from BDS.

DoD, academia test systems for GPS denial

A collection of Department of Defense units and U.S. universities recently found out when they gathered at Edwards Air Force Base to evaluate various aerial platforms in a degraded GPS environment. The week-long test event called DT NAVFEST – short for Developmental Test Navigation Festival – was the first largescale program of its kind, according to James Cook, KC-46A project manager with the 418th Flight Test Squadron.

“DT NAVFEST was established to provide a locally, more realistic GPS jamming environment in which aircraft platforms and (remotely piloted aircraft) could evaluate their performance under a degraded GPS signal,” Cook said. “Other locations around the U.S. provide such environments, but having it locally allowed for direct program input and cost savings to customers by not having to deal with the logistics costs of deploying to those locations.”

According to Wei Lee, test safety engineer with the 412th Test Wing, the universities were invited to participate in DT NAVFEST on a trial basis with the hope of expanding to other institutions in the future.

Six firm launch contracts booked with Arianespace

Arianespace has received its first two confirmed launch contracts for Europe’s new Ariane 6 rocket. Two Ariane 6 rockets will launch pairs of Galileo navigation satellites between the end of 2020 and mid-2021, Arianespace said. The launch contractor signed the Galileo launch deal with the European Space Agency, which serves as a technical agent and developer for Europe’s navigation network on behalf of the European Commission. The Galileo launches are the first two confirmed Ariane 6 reservations for Arianespace, which previously signed contract options for potential Ariane 6 flights with satellites for OneWeb’s orbiting communications constellation and Eumetsat’s meteorological fleet.

The Galileo satellites will ride in pairs on two Ariane 62 rockets, the lighter version of Europe’s future launcher. The Ariane 62 will fly with two strap-on solid rocket boosters, while the heavier Ariane 64 will carry four solid-fueled motors. Eighteen Galileo navigation satellites are currently in orbit. Eight more spacecraft will join the fleet over the next year with two Ariane 5 rocket missions scheduled for Dec. 12 and mid-2018.

Like the Ariane 5 rocket, the Ariane 6 will inject the Galileo satellites, built by Germany’s OHB with major contributions from Britain’s SSTL, directly into a circular orbit more than 14,400 miles (23,200 kilometers) above Earth after liftoff from the Guiana Space Center on the northeast coast of South America. The agreement has an option to launch the Galileo satellites on Soyuz rockets from French Guiana if the Ariane 6 is not ready in time. Ariane Group, a joint venture between Airbus and Safran, is developing the Ariane 6 rocket to replace the Ariane 5 in a public-private partnership with the European Space Agency.

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