India’s advanced communication satellite GSAT-8 successfully launched into its geosynchronous transfer orbit by Arianespace’s launch vehicle Ariane-5 from Kourou in French Guyana. Weighing about 3100 Kg, GSAT-8 is configured to carry 24 high-power transponders and a two channel GPS-aided GEO Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) payload. Once it was introduced into its intended orbit, ISRO’s master control facility in Karnataka’s Hassan took control of the satellite and placed it into the geostationary orbit. The satellite will be positioned at 55 degree E longitude and co-located with INSAT 3E satellite. Its designed in-orbit mission life is more than 12 years. The Ku-band (11-14 Gigahertz) transponders of the satellite will augment the capacity of the INSAT system. While, GAGAN will improve the accuracy of positioning information received from GPS satellite through an improved network of ground-based
India to share 26/11 GPS details
India will share with the Pakistani Judicial Commission details of the GPS used by the terrorists involved in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks so as to enable it to match the device with the GPS packing carton found by Pakistani authorities at a house in Karachi. The house is believed to be the one that served as the control room for orchestrating the 26/11 strikes.
Sources said by matching the GPS device used by the 26/11 attackers to navigate in Indian waters on fishing trawler Kuber with the packing carton, Islamabad would be able to clearly establish the role of Pakistani terrorists and the ISI in executing the Mumbai attacks of 2008.
The Pakistani Judicial Commission is expected to visit India to record the statement of the magistrate who had recorded the confessional statement of Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist of 26/11 attacks, in order to build a case against Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives including Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. Pakistan is yet to convey to India the dates when it will send the commission to India.
Russia opens negligence case over loss of Glonass satellites
Russian prosecutors have opened a criminal case on charges of negligence that led to the loss of three Glonass satellites last year, the Prosecutor General’s Office said. The satellites, meant to conclude the formation of Russia’s Glonass navigation system, were lost when a Proton-M carrier rocket veered off course and crashed in the Pacific Ocean in December. “Criminal proceedings have been launched against space officials who were responsible for the loss of the satellites,” the prosecutors said.
Several senior space officials have already been reprimanded for not enforcing all the necessary pre-launch safety procedures and failing to spot a mistake in fuel calculations that led to the loss of the satellites and cost the state 4.3 billion rubles ($152.2 million).
A preliminary investigation conducted on orders of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev established facts of offences punished by the Criminal Code, in which Roscosmos and Russia’s Energia space corporation officials were implicated.
Philippines keen to promote precision farming
President Benigno Aquino III said that a census for farmers and fisherfolks will be conducted using geospatial technology. Aquino added GIS-based National Farmers’ Registry System will be launched first in three provinces – Quezon, Leyte and Bukidnon. The system will be used for “precision agriculture,” wherein the government will collect information regarding farmers, including the crops that they plant so that the government could come up with a comprehensive program for them, according to Aquino. After the pilot-testing in the three provinces, the government will implement the programme nationwide, he added.
GPS modernization on agenda for June Space-based PNT advisory board meeting
The National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Advisory Board would meet in Arlington, Virginia during June 9 – 10. Among the agenda items are GPS modernization, interoperability with other GNSS systems, and future challenges to PNT service providers and users, such as protecting the emerging role of PNT in cyber networks, including the need for backups.
The National Space-Based PNT Advisory Board is a federal advisory committee comprised of experts from outside the U.S. government that provides counsel to the National Space-Based PNT Executive Committee and other government agencies regarding the nation’s space-based PNT policy, planning, program management, and funding profiles in relation to the current state of national and international space-based PNT services.
QUALCOMM has announced product support for the Russian GLONASS satellite system and the unique capability to utilize both the GPS and GLONASS networks simultaneously for greater location performance. The supplementary signals from this extended satellite network provide more accurate location information for the growing number of location based applications and services.
US group gives Mexico smugglers GPS emergency beacons
A humanitarian group has said that it has given emergency GPS location devices to Mexican human smugglers in a controversial bid to save immigrants’ lives as they break into increasingly remote desert stretches of the U.S. border this summer. Rev. Robin Hoover, founder of Tucson-based Humane Borders, said he gave five cell-phone sized location beacons to a church group in Mexico’s northern Sonora state earlier this month to distribute to human smugglers, known as “coyotes.”
The aim is for the coyotes to use the devices to summon rescue if they get into trouble as they guide migrants on the dangerous trek through remote desert terrain, where summer temperatures can top 115 F, he said.
According to a recently issued NANU, the GPS satellite carrying the problematic L5 test transmitter, SVN49/PRN01, has been decommissioned from active service. Although it was never set healthy for general use, it was being tracked by stations of the International GNSS Service and data was made available to engineers and scientists for test purposes. According to data from the IGS station TAH1 on the island of Tahiti, the L1/L2 signals were switched off at about 14:38 GPS time.