GPS News


May 2011 | No Comment


Russia invites Sweden to join GLONASS

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin invited Sweden to increase its cooperation on GLONASS satellite navigation system, during his visit to Stockholm, Sweden. Both countries agreed to strengthen cooperation in the space industry, including their intention to launch Swedish satellites using Russian carrier rockets.

Russia will also study the Swedish experience in the creation of its SWEPOS satellite navigation system, which uses the GLONASS signal.

Both countries agreed to jointly use ground facilities to gather information for operating their own orbital objects and those of third countries. They will also cooperate within a Russian space research project to monitor the Earth’s polar regions. The project envisions using a new satellite cluster, called Arktika, to provide environmental monitoring data for accurate weather forecasts and to aid national socio-economic development.

The project is scheduled to begin operating in 2015. The cost of the project is estimated at USD 1.23 billion.

RIA Novosti

Surveyor caught taking Rs 12,000 bribe

The Lokayukta police trapped a surveyor attached to land records assistant director’s office in Gokak while “allegedly” accepting a bribe of Rs 12,000 for surveying the land of an applicant. According to an official release, the accused, Rajashekhar Dhawaleshwar, had demanded Rs 15,000 (which was later settled to Rs 12,000) from Vithal Poojari, a resident of Dharmatti village, for conducting a survey of the latter’s land.

However Poojari, not wanting to pay the bribe, complained against Rajashekhar to Lokayukta police, who caught him red-handed while accepting the bribe. The Lokayukta police team that trapped the accused comprised inspectors R K Patil and R R Ambadagatti.

GPS threatened by new wireless network

GPS signals across the US are threatened by a new, ultra-fast wireless Internet network that may interfere with everything from consumer navigation devices to police cars to airplanes, reports the Associated Press .

A government decision to let the satellite company LightSquared build a nationwide broadband network using airwaves next to those used by GPS has led to the problem of a possible jam in existing navigation systems.

LightSquared’s roots as a satellite operator have had their airwaves reserved primarily for satellite communications. However, in 2003, FCC rules were changed to allow the company to back up those signals with ground-based wireless to fill in coverage gaps.

The FCC went further in January when LightSquared was given permission to use its airwaves for a broader, more conventional wireless data network. The company will still offer its satellite service, but will also plan to cover at least 92% of Americans by 2015 with high-power wireless signals that are transmitted by base stations on Earth, reports AP’s Joelle Tessler.

With LightSquared’s super-fast, fourth generation wireless services the company plans to compete nationally with 4G networks being rolled out by companies such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless. However, it will not directly sell to consumers. Instead it will provide network access to companies such as Leap Wireless of Cricket phone service and be rebranding under Best Buy.

By allowing LightSquared to expand its services, the FCC’s goal is to boost wireless competition and bring cheaper and faster Internet connections to all Americans, even those in remote locations of the country.

Although the FCC and LightSquared insist that the new network can co-exist with the GPS systems, manufacturers of GPS devices believe that their signals will suffer “the way a radio station can get drowned out by a stronger broadcast in a nearby channel.”

They say that the problem will occur when sensitive satellite receivers that are designed to pick up weak signals from space are overwhelmed by LightSquared’s high-power signals that are coming from as many as 40,000 transmitters on the ground using airwaves from next door.

Boeing GPS OCS enters operational status

Boeing’s GPS Operational Control Segment (OCS) gained full operational status with the US Air Force (USAF) 50th Space Wing, Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado. OCS keeps the GPS system operational within specified accuracy to provide secure and precise navigation around the world for military, humanitarian and commercial applications.

The Boeing-led team, consisting of Lockheed Martin, Braxton Technologies and a.i. solutions, supported the Air Force in completing a comprehensive series of operational tests and evaluations that began in 2007, when the Air Force transitioned satellite operations from the previous system to OCS.

The OCS system – designed to improve operations and provide new capability to GPS users – uses its distributed, open software and hardware architectures to increase operator efficiency, and the accuracy of positioning, navigation and timing.

Researchers using GPS data to study tides

GPS technology is helping researchers at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) find their way to a more complete understanding of Earth’s interior structure. Up until now, the best way to explore Earth’s internal structures—to measure geological properties such as density and elasticity—has been through seismology and laboratory experiments. “However, it is difficult using seismology alone to separate the effects that variations in density have from those associated with variations in elastic properties,” said Mark Simons, professor of geophysics at Caltech’s Seismological Laboratory, part of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences.

Now Simons and Takeo Ito, visiting associate at the Seismological Laboratory and assistant professor of earth and planetary dynamics at Nagoya University in Japan, are using data from GPS satellite systems in an entirely new way. They are using data to measure the solid Earth’s response to the movements of ocean tides—which place a large stress on Earth’s surface—and to estimate separately the effects of Earth’s density and the properties controlling response when a force is applied to it (known as elastic moduli). Their work has been already published in Science Express.

DOJ urges for warrantless GPS surveillance

The Obama administration urged the Supreme Court to allow the government, without a court warrant, to affix GPS devices on suspects’ vehicles to track their moves. The Department of Justice (DOJ) in the US, said, “A person has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his movements from one place to another.” It demanded to undo a lower court decision that reversed the conviction and life sentence of a cocaine dealer whose vehicle was tracked via GPS for a month without a court warrant.

The petition, if accepted by the justices, arguably would make it the biggest Fourth Amendment case in a decade — one weighing the collision of privacy, technology and the Constitution.

In 2001, the justices said thermal-imaging devices used to detect marijuana-growing operations inside a house amounted to a search requiring a court warrant. The justices are likely to accept the government’s petition to clear conflicting lower-court rulings on when warrants are required for GPS tracking.

The government told the justices that GPS devices have become a common tool in crime fighting. Three other circuit courts of appeal have already said the authorities do not need a warrant for GPS vehicle tracking.

Criminals in India to walk to the tune of GPS

In a bid to keep a tab on criminal activities, Haryana State Police in India will tag criminals who go out of jails on parole. The state police have tied up with Sharp Electrotech Inc., a Taiwan-based company, for the GPS tagging devices. “However, this move also requires an amendment in the provisions of the Good Conduct of Prisoners’ Act,” Haryana police Additional Director General B S Sandhu said.

This device will be in the form of an anklet or a bracelet. This is for the first time in the country that police is using such device and this scheme will be started from Yamunanagar district of the state. “These tracking bracelets or anklets will be first put on prisoners serving jail terms for murder, rape, loot or extortion. Right now we have around 140 parole jumpers in the state and around 30 of them are hard-core criminals,” Sandhu stated.
The monitoring bracelet or anklet will cost around INR 20000 to INR 25000 per unit and it would be water proof and can withstand external pressure. Special software will be installed into it through which movement of the criminal can be easily tracked.

Azerbaijan approves state time and frequency standard

Azerbaijani State Committee on Standardization, Metrology and Patents approved the initial state time and frequency standard. The standard complex includes a synchroniser of GPS-receivers, a time and frequency standard (Fluke910R) and a timer-counter-analyser (Fluke6690) produced in the US. The basic principle of the time and frequency standard is the frequency reception from the satellite through the GPS-antenna, which is regarded as the most accurate. It is formed by cesium decay, is synchronised via the time and frequency standard, and transfers information about the exact time in the country to all telecommunications systems.

The standard time will be applied throughout scientific research work and in communications, transport, medicine and other fields. In addition, the calibration of equipment to measure frequencies will be carried out using the new time and frequency standard.


China launches 8th navigation satellite

China launched its eighth navigation satellite of the Beidou system. It marks the establishment of a basic system for the navigation and positioning network. A Long March-3A carrier rocket carrying the “Beidou,” or Compass, navigation satellite took off from the Xichang satellite launch centre in southwest Sichuan province, China Daily reported.

50th Space Wings accepts ground system upgrades

The 50th Space Wing accepted two Global Positioning System ground system upgrades. While the upgrade will likely be transparent to users, it culminates a $1.1B effort to upgrade the original master control station here with a modern distributed architecture, called the Architectural Evolution Plan system.

AEP, which has been delivered in several installments, provides the capability to fly the first GPS IIF satellite and enabled the new security architecture inherent in modern GPS user equipment. Operational testing of the first GPS IIF satellite and AEP Version 5.5 was conducted in August 2010, and Air Force testers found the system to be “mission capable.” Air Force Space Command operationally accepted the AEP Version 5.5 system in January 2011.

The second ground system upgrade, a $100M effort, accepted is a command and control system for the 2nd Space Operations Squadron’s GPS Launch/Early Orbit, Anomaly Resolution and Disposal Operations mission.

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