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May 2020 | No Comment

Ultra-Secure, Jam-Resistant GPS M-Code signal to operationalize soon

The final steps to fully-enable the ultra-secure, jam-resistant Military Code (M-Code) signal on the GPS are now underway.

As part of the U.S. military’s effort to modernize GPS, the U.S. Space Force has been steadily upgrading its existing GPS Ground Operational Control System (OCS). The Space Force recently announced Operational Acceptance of the GPS Contingency Operations (COps) upgrade, developed by Lockheed Martin. COps enabled control of the operational GPS constellation, now containing 21 M-Code capable GPS satellites, including Lockheed Martin’s first two GPS III satellites, until the next generation OCX ground control system is delivered.

The Space Force’s M-Code Early Use (MCEU) upgrade, delivered earlier this year, will enable the OCS to task, upload and monitor M-Code within the GPS constellation, as well as support testing and fielding of modernized user equipment, prior to the completion of the next-generation ground control systems.

This Spring, work will begin to install the components needed to command and monitor the M-Code encrypted GPS signal, which enhances anti-jamming and protection from spoofing, as well as increases secure access for our forces, into the GPS OCS. M-Code signals are currently available on all the on-orbit GPS IIR-M, IIF and III space vehicles.

A key to enabling M-Code is a new software-defined receiver Lockheed Martin developed and is installing at all six Space Force monitoring sites. The M-Code Monitor Station Technology Capability (M-MSTIC) uses a commercial, off-the-shelf general purpose Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) to cost effectively receive and monitor M-Code signals. Operators can monitor the signal as needed. M-MSTIC complements MSTIC’s, which Lockheed Martin developedand fielded to replace aging hardware receivers that were becoming difficult and expensive to maintain.

Cyber defenses across the upgraded GPS system were recently evaluated by a government assessment team and passed the Operational Utility Evaluation. Lockheed Martin delivered the Red Dragon Cybersecurity Suite (RDCSS) Phase III upgrade during the fourth quarter of 2019, dramatically improving Defensive Cyber Operations (DCO) visibility into GPS network traffic. Other add-ons include user behavior analytics to analyze patterns of traffic and network taps to improve data collections. www.lockheedmartin.com

GSA posts list of Covid 19-fighting GNSS Apps

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) has posted a list of location-GNSS-Galileo based applications that may be useful tools against diffusion of COVID-19.

The applications cover a range of uses from supporting public authorities to assisting citizens in their everyday life under social distancing, closures and quarantines. The GSA seeks more location-GNSS-Galileo App to the list;

Application Categories:

Tracking the COVID-19 Pandemic

Six applications draw on cell phone user location data in various ways, to track movements back to contacts with others if diagnosed with the disease, to govern quarantine requirements, and similar. Privacy advocates may find these invasive; many aspects of the crisis violate previous norms.

Queue management

Two applications: to set up virtual queueing systems for shops to help citizens respect social distancing; and to provide real-time crowd-sourced location data to check length of supermarket entry lines, to avoid creating crowds.

Response management

One application automatically notifies users, for example first responders, when entering a zone with an increased occurrence of infected persons, to alert them to don protective equipment.

Information dissemination

One application to help anyone feeling unwell evaluate their symptoms without ringing overburdened call centers. Administers a self-test and offers instructions and recommendations in accordance with the results. gsa.europa.eu

Belarus to start sharing GNSS data with European network

From March 1, the Belarusian state enterprise Belgeodeziya started uploading data to two GNSS data processing centers. Until now, Belarus has been the only European country without a EUREF Permanent GNSS Network (EPN) station.

The EPN consists of

• a network of continuously operating GNSS (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou.) reference stations

• data centers providing access to the station dat

, • analysis centers that analyze the GNSS data

• product centers or coordinators that generate the EPN products

• a central bureau responsible for the daily monitoring and management of the EPN.

The EPN network is operated under the umbrella of the IAG (International Association of Geodesy) Regional Reference Frame subcommission for Europe, EUREF.

Instructed by the State Property Committee, Belgeodeziya has added four Belarusian GNSS stations to the EPN, which unites more than 100 European agencies and universities. Joining the network will provide Belarusian geodesists with direct access to international standards on the operation of permanent GNSS stations.

GNSS to assist construction on tunnel from Germany and Denmark

A European megaproject is relying on GNSS to guide supportive earthworks during construction. The Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link is a planned underwater tunnel that would allow travelers to go by car or train between Germany and Denmark in only seven to 10 minutes. Once completed, the 18-kilometer-long tunnel will be the world’s largest of its kind and is expected to employ up to 3,000 people.

The 7 billion Euro project is expected to be completed in nine years. Danish construction company Holbøll A/S is building earthworks for 56 bridges on the main route crossing Denmark to where the tunnel would start. Holbøll’s undertakings include ramps and drainage work for the new bridges.

Holbøll has 130 employees and a machine park of 22 machines equipped with machine control from Leica Geosystems. Geared with Leica Geosystems, Holbøll A/S has prequalified for several of the derived projects, including the draining and moving of eight hectares in Strandholm Lake in Denmark.

UK’s proposed sovereign GNSS system on hold due to debate on requirements

The proposed sovereign Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) announced by the British government after the decision to leave the European Union (EU), and the subsequent lockout of the British space industry from the EU’s Galileo GNSS programme, is reportedly on hold due to intensive debates between British polticians and officials over the UK’s GNSS requirements and what a sovereign system should look like.

These debates have apparently been triggered by a revised cost estimate of a sovereign UK GNSS system that has gone from £3 – £4 billion (US$3.85 – US$5.13 billion) to an estimated £5 billion (US$6.41 billion), and these estimates do not include the post-launch sustainment and replacement costs that would normally be associated with such a system.

In the aftermath of Brexit and its removal from the EU’s Galileo programme, the UK government pledged to build its own GNSS system that, in terms of numbers of satellites and architecture, would be similar to the European system and would consist of approximately 24 satellites in medium-Earth orbit (MEO), providing global coverage.

The UK government has earmarked £90 million (US$115.5 million) for a technical and industry feasibility study that was supposed to have been submitted later in March, but reportedly this is now on hold. Further, the Financial Times reports that the UK Cabinet Office has started a government-wide review on whether a global constellation is required, and there are suggestions that a smaller system that augments the signals from Galileo and the US Global Positioning System (GPS) is also being considered. https://spacewatch.global

Beijing is $14.4 billion-bound riding on BeiDou’s back

Beijing’s municipal government released a three-year plan to promote the innovation and development of industries related to the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System.

The total output of BeiDou navigation and location service industry in the Beijing region will exceed 100 billion yuan ($14.4 billion U.S. dollars) by 2022, according to the plan document.

The region historically has shown a keen interest in the GNSS industry and the economic benefits to be derived therefrom. BD Star Navigation, a private navigation products and system provider company located in Beijing, is only one of many companies to be involved in the initiative.

An area centered on the megalopolis and extending along the nearby Bohai Sea coast has emerged as one of five major clusters of BDS industry. The others center on Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhongshan along the Pearl River, Shanghai and the Yangtze River Delta region, Central China of Hubei and Hunan province, and to a lesser extent, Western China around Sichuan, Chongqing and Shanxi provinces.

The initiative seeks to stimulate breakthroughs in key and core technologies, as well as cultivating a sound ecology for competitive enterprises; could these mean inertial and other positioning technologies?

Beijing will set up seven major demonstration projects to promote BeiDou applications in smart transportation, environment protection and intelligent logistics, according to the plan.

AER licenses UCAR system to boost use of GNSS satellite data

Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc. (AER), a Verisk business, will license a satellite data processing system from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), building on UCAR’s commitment to improve weather forecasting. The agreement will enable AER to process satellite data for commercial companies that sell their Earth observation data products to government agencies and other organizations that provide customized environmental information to a range of clients.

Under the agreement, AER will adapt UCAR’s SatDAACâ software system to process observations from satellites that use a method known as Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) radio occultation to observe the atmosphere. Those observations can lead to significantly improved weather forecasts.

GNSS radio occultation measures the extent to which the radio signals from GNSS transmitter satellites (including GPS satellites) bend as they propagate through denser regions of the atmosphere. www.aer.com

 

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