More than 40,000 fishing boats in China have been equipped with receivers tuned to China’s Beidou Navigation Satellite System, to provide better search and rescue for ships in trouble, a Beidou expert said. “Fishers call the Beidou system their patron,” Yang Yuanxi, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and deputy chief designer of the system, said recently.
China has 140,000 fishermen whose life on the sea inevitably comes with occasional mishaps, such as extreme weather, collisions or submerged rocks, Mr Yang said. If an accident involves a ship equipped with Beidou receivers, the system can transmit messages for help and pin the precise location for other ships in the vicinity. www.telegraph.co.uk
China launches another BeiDou navigation satellite
China sent a new BeiDou navigation satellite into orbit on a Long March- 3A rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, in the southwestern Sichuan Province on July 10.
The satellite is the 32nd of the BeiDou navigation system, and one of the BeiDou-2 family, which is the second generation of the system.
BLUEGNSS’s focus has been on advancing the adoption of the European global navigation satellite system (GNSS) in Greece, Italy, Cyprus and Malta. The four countries together form the BLUE MED functional airspace block (FAB), airspace in which air traffic is managed irrespective of national boundaries. BLUE MED is one of the nine FABs formed in Europe in order to reduce the fragmentation of the European air traffic network.
Three-dimensional GNSS approaches are being designed for 11 airports in the BLUE MED FAB: 4 each in Greece and Italy, 2 in Cyprus and 1 in Malta. The primary aim is to harmonise the implementation of required navigation performance approaches among the four countries. This will enable aircraft to fly along precise flight paths with greater accuracy, and will make it possible to pinpoint aircraft position with precision and integrity.
Now close to completion, BLUEGNSS (Promoting EGNSS Operational Adoption in BLUEMED FAB) is the first project of its kind to be coordinated at FAB level. It may serve as a catalyst to spread required navigation performance approach knowhow in the region and beyond, to the whole of Europe. www.bluemed.aero/
Russia is planning to launch a Glonass-K2 satellite under the GLONASS-K series. The launch is expected to be conducted either by a Soyuz-2 carrier rocket from the Plesetsk spaceport in Russia, or by an Angara rocket from the Vostochny cosmodrome in the Russian Far East by 2022. www.aerospace-technology.com
MIT researchers have developed the first molecular clock on a chip, which uses the constant, measurable rotation of molecules – when exposed to a certain frequency of electromagnetic radiation – to keep time. The chip could one day significantly improve the accuracy and performance of navigation on smartphones and other consumer devices.
Today’s most accurate time-keepers are atomic clocks. These clocks rely on the steady resonance of atoms, when exposed to a specific frequency, to measure exactly one second. Several such clocks are installed in all GPS satellites. By “trilaterating” time signals broadcast from these satellites – a technique like triangulation, that uses 3-D dimensional data for positioning – your smartphone and other ground receivers can pinpoint their own location. But atomic clocks are large and expensive. Your smartphone, therefore, has a much less accurate internal clock that relies on three satellite signals to navigate and can still calculate wrong locations.
Researchers from MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and Terahertz Integrated Electronics Group have now built an onchip clock that exposes specific molecules – not atoms – to an exact, ultrahigh frequency that causes them to spin. When the molecular rotations cause maximum energy absorption, a periodic output is clocked – in this case, a second. As with the resonance of atoms, this spin is reliably constant enough that it can serve as a precise timing reference. In experiments, the molecular clock averaged an error under 1 microsecond per hour, comparable to miniature atomic clocks and 10,000 times more stable than the crystal-oscillator clocks in smartphones. Because the clock is fully electronic and doesn’t require bulky, power-hungry components used to insulate and excite the atoms, it is manufactured with the low-cost, complementary metaloxide- semiconductor (CMOS) integrated circuit technology used to make all smartphone chips. http://news.mit.edu
Billions of people-and a growing number of autonomous vehicles-rely on mobile navigation services from Google, Uber, and others to provide real-time driving directions. A new proof-of-concept attack demonstrates how hackers could inconspicuously steer a targeted automobile to the wrong destination or, worse, endanger passengers by sending them down the wrong way of a one-way road.
The attack starts with a $225 piece of hardware that’s planted in or underneath the targeted vehicle that spoofs the radio signals used by civilian GPS services. It then uses algorithms to plot a fake “ghost route” that mimics the turn-byturn navigation directions contained in the original route. Depending on the hackers’ ultimate motivations, the attack can be used to divert an emergency vehicle or a specific passenger to an unintended location or to follow an unsafe route. The attack works best in urban areas the driver doesn’t know well, and it assumes hackers have a general idea of the vehicle’s intended destination. https://arstechnica.com
The EU has effectively ruled out British companies bidding on new contracts for the 10 billion-euro ($11.6 billion) program, and also says it will exclude Britain from the Public Regulated Service — the encrypted navigation signals used for government and defense purposes. That’s despite U.K. units of Airbus SE and CGI Group Inc. carrying out extensive work on the program since its inception.
“We are not yet past the point of no return, but time is running out,” Gyimah told a House of Lords Committee on Thursday. “We’ve also made it clear that any gap in U.K. involvement in the design and development of Galileo, the PRS, would also mean the U.K. could not rely on the system for our own national security interests.”
Galileo has become one of the surprise flash-points of Britain’s negotiations to leave the EU, and emphasizes the gap in negotiating stances. The EU is sticking to its rulebook, which says Britain should be treated as any other third nation after Brexit, while British officials argue the country’s close involvement in the program to date means it should have privileged access. Britain has said that it’ll work on its own satellite array — possibly in conjunction with countries such as Australia — if it can’t have the access it wants to the EU program. At the same time, ministers have taken offense at the idea the U.K. can’t be trusted to stay involved in the secure signal program.
“The very idea that somehow the U.K. cannot be trusted on security matters is for the birds,” Gyimah said. www.bloomberg.com
£100mn to study rival EU Galileo space program
Having faced an onslaught of requests to loosen the purse strings for the Ministry of Defense (MoD), Philip Hammond is now under pressure to cough up £100 million for a study into a UK rival to the EU’s Galileo satellite.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Hammond received the request last week from Business Secretary Greg Clark, who suggested that the funds be released to conduct a two-year feasibility study into a British satellite navigation system similar to the EU’s Galileo program.
The request comes as the EU continues to deny the UK access to the Galileo program after it leaves the bloc in March 2019. Launched in 2003 as the first civil-run satellite navigation system and an independent rival to the US GPS, the UK had invested €1.4 billion ($1.65bn) of the €10 billion ($11.8bn) spent to fund Galileo. www.rt.com