Dec 2017 | No Comment

Air Force accepts delivery of GPS Next Generation Operational Control System

The Space and Missile Systems Center announced that the United States Air Force has accepted delivery of the Global Positioning System Next Generation Operational Control System (GPS OCX) Launch and Checkout System (LCS) baseline from Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems.

Also known as Block 0, LCS demonstrated conformance through test and analysis with all contractual requirements. OCX has had numerous challenges delaying the delivery of this critical capability, and this delivery marks a significant program milestone providing the Air Force with a cyber-hardened ground system to support the launch and on-orbit checkout of the GPS III satellites. OCX Block 0 is the foundation for Raytheon’s future Block 1 and 2 delivery, slated for delivery in 2022.

DoT in India exempts feature phones from GPS installation diktat

The telecom department has exempted feature phone makers from installing GPS which helps track the location of a device. The Department of Telecommunications(DoT), which said in April last year that all mobile phones must have GPS capability, has now scaled down the mandate and made it applicable to only smartphones, according to a notification in November.

Almost 400 million people in India still use feature phones and the segment has been aided largely by Reliance Jio Infocomm’s 4G Volte feature phone, which then prompted Indian competitors to follow suit and launch their own versions. A recent study by Mobile Marketing Association and Kantar IMRB suggests that 85% of feature phone consumers do not wish to upgrade to smartphones. It remains to be seen whether the government will mandate other tracking tools in feature phones.

Russia vows to support the Philippines transport development

Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, Philipines and Russian Minister of Transportation Minister Maksim Sokolov agreed to cooperate on rail, maritime, road and aviation development in the Philippines. The two countries agreed on cooperating for the development of new technologies for road safety. On satellite navigation technologies, the Philippines and Russia will explore utilization of Glonass–similar to GPS–for road-emergency response, truck-weight monitoring and air-navigation applications.

Beidou joins global rescue data network

China’s domestically developed navigation satellite system Beidou has been included in a global network that collects and distributes data for search and rescue missions, the Ministry of Transport said. Beidou will be part of the International Cospas-Sarsat Programme, a nonprofit, intergovernmental and humanitarian cooperative with 44 members, including the United States, Canada, Russia and China.

The International Cospas-Sarsat Programme is a satellite-based search and rescue distress alert detection and information distribution system best known for detecting and locating emergency beacons activated by aircraft, ships and hikers in distress. It aims to “provide accurate, timely and reliable distress alerts and location data to help search and rescue authorities assist people in distress”. It uses the GPS, GLONASS and Galileo systems for its missions.

China adds 2 satellites to Beidou

China has added two satellites to its Beidou network. The pair of Beidou-3 satellites were launched aboard a single Long March-3B rocket from the Xichang launch center in the southwestern province of Sichuan, broadcaster CCTV and the Xinhua News Agency reported.

China plans to complete a network linking more than 30 satellites providing real-time geospatial information worldwide by 2020.

Australia launches regional SBAS positioning trial

The Federal Government has announced a two-year trial of a new Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) for the Australasian region recently supported by an investment of $12 million in federal funds, and a further $2 million from the New Zealand government.

The trial will be the first in the world to test the Precise Point Positioning (PPP) technique’s integration in an SBAS service, and will be managed by the Australia and New Zealand CRC for Spatial Information (CRCSI), in partnership with satellite communications company Inmarsat, technology firm GMV and security giant Lockheed Martin. Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), the government department responsible for mapping landscapes and charting New Zealand waters, will oversee the New Zealand’s involvement in the project.

Businesses and organisations from ten industry sectors including agriculture, aviation, construction, consumer, maritime, rail, road, resources, spatial and utilities will also participate, with over 30 specific projects anticipated. The trial is intended to test the performance of the technology directly across industries; current industry-specific requirements and how they interact with the technology, and future industry-specific innovations that may leverage the technology. The outcome of the trial will in part determine if Australia and New Zealand should develop an operational SBAS.

SBAS is a form of GNSS augmentation — techniques to extend and improve the accuracy, reliability or availability of GNSS systems. SBAS systems use additional satellite-broadcast messages, typically utilising ground stations at surveyed points to record measurements from GNSS satellites, their signals and environmental factors that could impact them. Messages containing these data are created from these measurements that are sent to the SBAS satellites, and then broadcast to end users to improve GNSS capabilities.

Indian Railways to use GPS-enabled fog safety devices

The Indian Railways has planned to use GPS-enabled fog safety devices in the trains to alert the loco pilot about approaching signals. The GPS-based devices in trains would provide advance warning to motormen and it in next few days all trains will be equipped with it.

The Indian Railways said in a statement that 900 of these GPS devices have been given to the Delhi zone. Besides this, the Railways will also deploy fogmen to place detonators on the tracks to alert the loco pilots about approaching signals.

Lockheed Martin assembles third US Air Force GPS III satellite

The U.S. Air Force’s third GPS III satellite undergoing production at Lockheed Martin advanced satellite manufacturing facility has been successfully integrated into a complete space vehicle.

GPS III Space Vehicle 03 (GPS III SV03) comes after the first two GPS III satellites on a streamlined assembly and test production line. GPS III SV03 was assembled in Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Processing Facility, a $128 million factory designed in a virtual reality environment to boost efficiency and slash costs in satellite production. Now fully assembled, the third satellite is being prepared for environmental testing.

GPS III SV03 closely follows the company’s second satellite in the production flow. GPS III SV02 completed integration in May, finished acoustic testing in July and moved into thermal vacuum testing in August. The second GPS III satellite is expected to be delivered to the U.S. Air Force in 2018.

The fourth GPS III satellite is close behind the third. Lockheed Martin received the navigation payload for GPS III SV04 in October and the payload is now integrated with the space vehicle. The satellite is expected to be integrated into a complete space vehicle in January 2018.

In August, Lockheed Martin technicians began major assembly work on GPS III SV05. All of these satellites are following Lockheed Martin’s first GPS III satellite, GPS III SV01, through production flow. Lockheed Martin is under contract for ten next generation GPS III satellites as part of the US Air Force’s modernized Global Positioning System. GPS III will have three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities. Spacecraft life will extend to 15 years, which is 25 percent more than the latest GPS satellites on-orbit today. GPS III’s new L1C civil signal also will make it the first GPS satellite to be concurrently operable with other international global navigation satellite systems.

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