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Space Applications Centre selects IFEN’s GNSS Simulator for IRNSS development and testing
The Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad of the Department of Space of the Government of India recently selected the NavX®‐NCS Professional, a multi‐constellation and multi‐frequency GNSS RF navigation constellation simulator from IFEN GmbH, as the new reference simulator for its IRNSS development and testing. The IRNSS payload system engineering group of the Space Applications Centre (SAC) in Ahmedabad, India, has selected IFEN’s multi‐constellation and multi‐frequency GNSS RF simulator NavX®‐NCS Professional for their R&D and testing activities in the frame of the ongoing Indian IRNSS programme.
Chronos signs framework agreement for GPS/GSM Jamming investigation with UK Government
Chronos Technology has announced the signing of a Framework Agreement with the UK Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) to provide tools and guidance for the impact assessment of GSM/GPS Jamming Devices.CPNI provides integrated security advice (combining information, personnel and physical) to organisations which make up the national infrastructure. Their advice helps to reduce the vulnerability of the national infrastructure (primarily the critical national infrastructure) to terrorism and other threats to national security. CPNI also provide protective security advice for the London 2012 Olympics and space technologies. Under the framework agreement Chronos will deliver tools to allow CPNI to develop a better understanding of the impact of these jamming devices on national infrastructure.
China has launched ninth navigation satellite as part of its GNSS, Beidou or Compass. China will form its GNSS network with 35 navigation satellites to reduce dependency on GPS. The network will provide services for Asia-Pacific regions by 2012 and global services by 2020.
Chinese consultancy charts evolution of Compass industry
A Beijing consulting firm estimates the size of China’s Compass/BeiDou domestic industry was 6 billion renminbi (US$927 million) in 2010, comprising only 6 percent of the country’s GNSS market. In a news release yesterday (July 10, 2011), Beijing-based CCID Consulting Co., Ltd., described its analysis of the future evolution of China’s GNSS system at the beginning of China’s 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015). Compass officials have announced plans to launch 12 more BeiDou-2 satellites by the end of 2012 to join the 8 already in orbit. According to CCID Consulting, China has about 200 enterprises engaged in the research and development activities involving Compass products, most of modest size and scattered in more than a dozen of provinces and municipalities. The growth has taken place despite the absence of an officially published interface control document for the GNSS system.
As part of efforts to upgrade air traffic management in the country, the Airports Authority of India has launched the process of implementing a critical safety system that uses the global positioning system (GPS) for safe navigation of flights.
This is part of the implementation of the GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system that would improve air navigation, not only over the Indian airspace but also the airspace over the Indian Ocean region from Southeast Asia to the African shores.
A MoU to implement the ground-based augmentation system (GBAS) as a pilot project at Chennai airport was signed by the AAI and the US Trade Development Agency (USTDA) here recently.
GBAS is a critical safety system that uses GPS for efficient and safe navigation to aid landings, take-offs and surface operations within its area of coverage.
With the implementation of GBAS, India would join a select group of countries which have implemented the technology, an AAI official said.
The GBAS aids landing based on inputs provided through the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) that enables simultaneous landings of aircraft on multiple runways while meeting the precisions of the Category-I to Category-III Instrument Landing Systems.
The signing of the MoU followed the successful positioning of the satellite to operate the GAGAN system that would offer seamless navigation to air traffic over the Indian Ocean and the Indian airspace. AAI and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are developing GAGAN.
Roscosmos to boost private-public partnership
As the Russian government is investing significant fund in space projects, it is likely to increase private-public partnerships, according to the head of Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Vladimir Popovkin. He was sharing his views with media on the occasion of successful rocket launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome. Popovkin said, “Perhaps, a number of enterprises will be re-established as a private-public partnership.” Speaking about promising projects, Popovkin cited that the flight to Mars could also be funded by large private business. Apparently, Popovkin shared NASA’s ideas about the future of space exploration and the growing role of private business in its funding.
GPS-based device tracks waterborne diseases
Water Canary Inc. unveiled a device at TED Global in Edinburgh, Scotland. The device, Water Canary, uses GPS and Crowdsourcing to identify global water problems. It provides real-time information on potential outbreaks of disease- infected water. It lets anyone test water with the push of the button and then submits the results along with location data wirelessly.
More than 3.5 million people die each year as the result of water-related disease according to the World Health Organization. The company hopes it can identify problems much more quickly than chemical-based testing and prevent communities from drinking contaminated water.
The device analyses water samples by using light and measuring what wavelengths to draw conclusions. A red light flashes to alert the user to a potential water problem.
The United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket blasted off with the Air Force’s GPS IIF-2 (renamed as SVN-63) payload from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, US. The SVN-63 replaced the GPS 2A-11 satellite that just celebrated its 20th birthday in orbit, exceeding the wildest expectations for longevity. This launch marked the 50th successful GPS launch on a Delta vehicle. Meanwhile, Boeing, manufacturer of the satellite, announced that it has received the first on-orbit signals from the GPS IIF-2 satellite. The next GPS launch is tentatively targeted for September 2012.
MIT to develop system to prevent mid-air collisions
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) asked researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to create an algorithm for a new tracking system to predict and prevent collisions between small aircraft. The new system broadcasts GPS data between aircraft. FAA mandated that by 2020 all commercial aircraft and small aircraft flying near most airports must be equipped with the new tracking system instead of depending on ground radar. In the last 10 years, 112 small planes have been involved in midair collisions and thousands more have reported close calls, according to MIT’s press statement. The key challenge in designing a collision-detection algorithm, MIT researchers said, is limiting false alarms.
IAG selects Chris Rizos as President
International Association of Geodesy (IAG) selected its new President, Professor Chris Rizos. At present, he is Head of School of Surveying & Spatial Information Systems (SSIS), University of New South Wale (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia. The IAG is one of eight associations within the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics. It advances use of Geodesy across an increasingly broad range of ‘geoscience’ applications by providing reference systems and vital services that use earth observation space-based systems.
Indian state to rope in private land surveyors
The Maharashtra State cabinet in India decided to give licenses to private land surveyors to carry out land survey in the state for boundary demarcation to help expedite pending cases. According to the decision, government-approved surveyors will be appointed in each district and trained for the job. After that, they will be empanelled in each district. The educational qualification required for the surveyor, will be diploma in Civil Engineering or a surveyor’s diploma from ITI. A retired land surveyor from the government’s survey and land records department also will be eligible for permission. Officials in the revenue department said candidates between the age of 21 and 65, without experience in land surveying, will have to undergo training for 45 days before being put on the job.
OGP guidelines for using GNSS in oil and gas
The International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP) issued a document of new guidelines for how to use global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) in the oil and gas industry. The document has been issued together with the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA). It has been prepared by OGP’s geomatics committee and IMCA’s offshore survey division management committee. Last time such guidelines were published in 1994 by the Surveying & Positioning Committee of the United Kingdom Offshore Operators Association (UKOOA). The document provides guidelines for the use of GNSS to position vessels, vehicles and other fixed and mobile installations during oil exploration and production (E&P) related surveying and positioning activities. It represents an overview of the recommended principles for reliable positioning and includes recommended minimum statistical testing and quality measures essential for rigorous quality control and performance assessment.
Import duties on equipment that does not support GLONASS, can be introduced as early as January 2012 according to Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, RBC. He added that if the device supports both systems – GPS and GLONASS, the customs duties will not be charged. Just Ivanov said that one hundred percent coverage of GLONASS in Russia is expected by the end of 2011. According to him, today in Russia is equipped with GLONASS only 40-50 thousand vehicles, where this system is already installed, the savings on fuel and lubricants reached 30-40%, as it became less “leftist” flights.
The fact that cell phones and navigators without GLONASS impose duties, it became known late last year. As explained Ivanov then, if the mobile phone will be only with GPS, the duty on its import will be around 25%.
Indian navy ponders new minesweepers
Northrop Grumman’s European subsidiary, Northrop Grumman Park Air Systems, is providing a range of navigation equipment for Indian air bases. The equipment includes Instrument Landing Systems and Doppler VHF Omni-directional Range Systems as part of the Indian air force’s modernization of air field infrastructure. Under the contract — awarded by the Tata Power Company Limited, Strategic Electronics Division — Northrop will supply 30 NORMARC 7000 ILS and 31 NORMARC DVOR systems with deliveries to be completed in 42 months. This is the first phase of the MAFI India project. The current contract provides an option for a second phase of the program for modernizing a further 30 airfields operated by the Indian armed forces.
The project is to ensure Indian military air fields are capable of handling all types of aircraft operated by the air force at all times, including jet fighters and military transport aircraft currently being acquired. When completed, the project will provide the airfields with modern air traffic management, navigation and landing systems and meteorological and communications facilities.
A new report prepared by the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Systems Engineering Forum concludes that the planned deployment of a satellite and terrestrially based national broadband service by LightSquared “poses a significant potential for harmful interference” to Global Positioning System (GPS) services. The report, “Assessment of LightSquared Terrestrial Broadband System Effects on GPS Receivers and GPS-Dependent Applications,” was submitted to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski July 6 by the Commerce Department’s
National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
It recommends LightSquared should not begin service as planned for terrestrial operation in the 1525MHz to 1559MHz Mobile-Satellite Service (MSS) band due to harmful interference to GPS operations. According to the report, tests have shown there to be “significant detrimental impacts to all GPS application” looked at for the report.
The report also calls on the government to conduct more thorough studies on “the operational, economic and safety impacts” of operating the company’s network. These studies should look at the compatibility of ATC (Ancillary Terrestrial Components) architectures in the MSS L
Band with GPS applications.
Various approaches to mitigating harmful interference for LightSquared’s nationwide broadband service were considered. According to the report, two involving frequency separation were the most promising for GPS users. Relocation of LightSquared’s terrestrial operations to another band offered “the greatest long-term benefit to the GPS community,” the report said.
Limiting LightSquared transmissions to the lower 5MHz or 10 MHz channel of its planned deployment would offer protection for a limited number of GPS applications, but “other applications would still be susceptible to interference,” it said.
The day after the report was submitted to the FCC, LightSquared announced a new initiative to bring wireless broadband to rural America and the establishment of an advisory board, including former U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (ND) and former Reps. George Nethercutt (WA) and Charlie Stenholm (TX).
A press statement announcing the moves quotes Nethercutt as saying giving farmers “accurate GPS signals and advanced wireless and broadband services … shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.”
EC against terrestrial use of satellite spectrum
The European Commission (EC) added its name to the list of opposes to LightSquared’s plan to use satellite band frequencies for a ground network of broadband transmitters in the US. Analysis by the European Space Agency (ESA) found that signals from LightSquared’s network may cause “harmful interference” to the Galileo system, Heinz Zourek, head of the European Commission’s industry department, said in a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski.
Zourek’s concerns echo objections to LightSquared raised by makers and users of navigation devices that operate on the U.S. global-positioning system. The GPS industry says that the Reston, Virginia-based company’s service may overwhelm their signals, which come from satellites, and interfere with aircraft, boats, tractors and cars.
LightSquared said on June 30 that it wouldn’t use all the airwaves allocated to it, cutting interference to more than 99 percent of GPS devices. The FCC is taking comments on the revised plan until Aug. 15 and faces no deadline to act.
To solve the LightSquared versus GPS controversy, Javad Ashjaee, president and CEO of JAVAD GNSS, has appealed directly to President Obama to discontinue the encryption of P-code, the restricted military GPS signal. His comments came in the context of the LightSquared/GPS interference imbroglio, as part of his solution to the conflict over spectrum. “This policy is not helping national security. It is hurting both precision users and the broadband project. We need more broadband, for global, fast, and inexpensive real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS.” Ashjaee, a longtime leader in high-precision GNSS equipment, made the remarks during a panel discussion at the Esri Survey Summit, and expands upon them in a video posted on his company’s website: “A Solution for LightSquared.” In the video, he calls the LightSquared saga “a good thing, because it brings the issue of in-band interference to many GPS users, especially surveyors and high-precision users.”
LightSquared tries to appease GPS opponents
LightSquared, which is building a 4G network and will offer services to other companies on a wholesale basis, said it has started the Empower Rural America Initiative. The group will work with small communities on the GPS issue, help develop filters that would prevent interference, address concerns from those small towns, and help widen the adoption of broadband service. LightSquared, which is owned by Philip Falcone’s Harbinger Capital, needs to appease the opponents to get its network up and running. The company plans to begin testing its network with customers next year, and has lined up partners including Best Buy. LightSquared, however, faces stiff resistance from a group called the Coalition To Save Our GPS, which has warned that the signals used in LightSquared’s upcoming wireless network would cripple GPS satellites necessary for running everything from navigation devices to agricultural equipment.