Nov 2019 | No Comment

GPS III ground system operations contingency program nearing operational acceptance

The Global Positioning System enterprise reached another major milestone on Oct. 21, when the GPS III Contingency Operations Program (COps) successfully connected with the first GPS III satellite on orbit. The COps system will allow the Air Force to operationally command and control the new, more powerful GPS III satellites as well as legacy GPS satellites currently in the constellation. The first GPS III satellite was launched on Dec. 23, 2018.

The GPS III COps program achieved several successes in recent months. First, the program completed final ground control system software testing and verification in May 2019. This was followed by delivery to sustainment and final system test completion in June 2019. After final system test, the Air Force approved installation of COps to command and control legacy operations at the Master Control Station at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado and at the Alternate Master Control Station at Vandenberg, Air Force Base near Lompoc, California. In October 2019, the COps program received approval from Air Force Space Command’s Operations and Communications Directorate (A3/6) to enter a trial period. The trial period includes testing COps command and control with the live, on-orbit GPS III satellite, which allows the program office to conduct developmental and operational testing needed to thoroughly verify requirements and functionality of the satellite. The testing aims to confirm readiness for operational acceptance targeted for December 2019 and April 2020 for the GPS III satellite and COps respectively.

EUTELSAT 5 West B successfully launched with EGNOS payload

The EUTELSAT 5 West B satellite was successfully launched on a Proton M/ Breeze M launch vehicle from Pad 39 at Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, at 12.17 CET on 9 October. Hosting the GEO- 3 payload of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System (EGNOS), the satellite will support EGNOS V3 – the next generation of the EGNOS programme.

EGNOS V3 will augment both GPS and Galileo in the L1 and L5 bands. Furthermore, it will provide additional satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) service capabilities through a new SBAS channel on L5 and will deliver increased EGNOS service availability within and beyond the EU Member States in answer to a growing number of users.

The next generation of the EGNOS programme will also benefit from reinforced security, which will increase the robustness of EGNOS services against potential threats. EGNOS V3 will be made available in 2024 and will augment Galileo signals from 2025.

Launch of new GLONASS navigation system satellite delayed

The launch of the next Russian GLONASS navigation system satellite has been postponed until December. The launch of the new GLONASS-M satellite was initially planned for November. At the moment, the GLONASS navigation system consists of 27 satellites, including 23 operational devices in orbit. Two satellites are in maintenance. To ensure the global coverage of the navigation system, 24 operational satellites are needed.

Gulf Countries See Russia’s GLONASS As Alternative To GPS

The countries of the Persian Gulf consider Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) a reliable replacement to the US-based Global Positioning System (GPS), the director general of the Russian space corporation Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, said.

“GLONASS is certainly of interest for everyone – the Persian Gulf countries display utter interest in GLONASS and in deploying ground stations. Because, apparently, the geopolitical situation has changed in the region to the extent when relying solely on GPS is hardly possible,” Rogozin told.

Roscosmos and the Saudi Space Commission have signed a statement of intent to cooperation in financing space exploration and the GLONASS global navigation satellite system.

GSA releases 2019 GNSS Market Report

The new GSA GNSS Market Report is now available for download. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the GNSS market and the global industry, as well as a focus on EGNSS differentiators and synergies with Copernicus, according to the publisher, the European GNSS Agency (GSA).

Areas covered include:

▪ A general overview of the GNSS market and a global industry overview. Analysis of macro-trends affecting GNSS, including climate change and the circular economy, big data, artificial intelligence, the silver economy, cyber security and the sharing economy.

▪ A review of the main GNSS market segments in detail, including trends and developments, forecasts for future shipments, revenues and the GNSS installed base, and a look into GNSS user requirements.

GNSS in Space. This year, the report features the “Editor’s Special: GNSS for NewSpace,” a section that introduces GNSS receivers in satellites and their relation to the evolving space sector.

GNSS market monitoring is a key activity of the GSA. Market monitoring supports GNSS stakeholders in their planning and decision-making, and offers a clear tool to understand GNSS trends and evolutions.

EU contracting for GNSS interference detection network

The Official Journal of the European Union (EU) will publish a funding opportunity in the near future for a GNSS “Advanced Interference Detection and Robustness Capabilities System,” according to officials familiar with the project.

Advance notice of this procurement was first given in August of last year, with an award projected for the first quarter of 2019. Some observers have speculated that the procurement delay was related to a change in how the final system is envisioned. The current version of the notice asks for a crowdsourcing, software and networked-based solution.

GPS helping provide more precise precipitation predictions

Scientists are using GPS signals to measure air moisture for better weather forecasting. The method is now being incorporated into the Bureau of Meteorology’s weather forecast models following successful tests over Australia, off the back of World Space Week 2019.

The RMIT University, Geoscience Australia and Bureau of Meteorology collaboration has harnessed the growing network of GPS receivers to provide more accurate, real time weather forecasts.

The system works by measuring the time it takes GPS signals from overhead satellites to reach ground receivers. Signals can be slightly delayed by moisture in the troposphere, causing what’s known as a zenith total delay, so scientists measure this delay to assess air moisture.

RMIT Adjunct Professor and Bureau Senior Principal Research Scientist, John Le Marshall, said it was an exciting new capability for real-time weather measurements and forecasting.

GPS is proving increasingly useful to meteorologists, with another completed project using the bending of GPS signals through the atmosphere to determine temperature at various altitudes, whereas this system measures the delay in the arrival of those signals to determine water vapour levels.

While the technology could be applied almost anywhere, it’s particularly valuable in a sparsely populated country like Australia where there’s a lack of ground-based meteorological observation stations. https://


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