GPS IIIB Program progress
Lockheed Martin has successfully completed a key requirements review for the GPS IIIB satellite series under the U.S. Air Force’s next generation GPS III Space Segment program. The team which also includes ITT and General Dynamics, recently completed a two-day GPS IIIB System Requirements Review (SRR). The successful review demonstrated to the customer and user community the Lockheed Martin team’s understanding of the inherent product development and technology maturity risks, how they will be met, and the program’s readiness to continue to the GPS IIIB System Design Review. The team, which is progressing in the GPS IIIA Critical Design Review (CDR) phase of the program, has completed more than 80% of the planned CDRs and is well on its path to the overall space vehicle CDR ahead of the planned schedule.
Boeing GPS IIF-1 satellite active
Boeing has acquired the first on-orbit signals from the GPS IIF-1 satellite, the inaugural spacecraft in a 12-satellite constellation that the company is building for the U.S. Air Force. The signals indicate that the spacecraft bus is functioning normally and ready to begin orbital maneuvers and operational testing. GPS signals from the spacecraft payload will be turned on for test purposes in the coming weeks. The GPS IIF-1 satellite will undergo months of on-orbit tests, including functional testing of its payloads and end-to-end system testing to verify operability with older GPS satellites, ground receivers, and the ground control system.
China sends Beidou satellite to orbit
China launched another satellite toward an orbit more than 22,000 miles above Earth, marking another step in building the country’s own space navigation system. The satellite is the fourth spacecraft to be launched in the second-generation Beidou constellation.
Tsunami Prediction System
A NASA-led research team has successfully demonstrated the elements of a prototype tsunami prediction system that quickly and accurately assesses large earthquakes and estimates the size of resulting tsunamis. A team led by Y. Tony Song of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, used real-time data from the agency’s GDGPS network to successfully predict the size of the resulting tsunami. The network combines global and regional real-time data from hundreds of GPS sites and estimates their positions every second. It can detect ground motions as small as a few centimeters.
Limitations of Wireless 9-1-1 Calls
True Position announced the findings of a research study undertaken with Ovum. The research concludes that Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) who answer 9-1-1 wireless calls do not believe GPS works adequately in indoor and urban environments where the GPS signal, which requires a clear line of sight to the sky, is often obstructed by the steel and concrete of the buildings the cell phone caller is in or near. The PSAPs involved in the study believe accuracy, reliability and response time are critical to successfully processing 9-1-1 calls, yet only 10% believe that GPS meets their accuracy, reliability and response time needs and expectations in indoor and urban environments. Alarmingly, PSAPs in the study almost unanimously agreed that location information generated using GPS in dense urban areas is unreliable, and 9-1-1 call-takers often have to make multiple attempts to locate the caller.
NASA develops GenX search system
The Search and Rescue Mission Office at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, in collaboration with several government agencies, has developed a next-generation search and rescue system, called the Distress Alerting Satellite System (DASS). DASS will be able to almost instantaneously detect and locate distress signals generated by 406MHz beacons installed on aircraft and vessels or carried by individuals. The satellite-based instruments will be installed on the US military’s GPS operating in mid-Earth orbit.
NextGen GPS in aircrafts by 2020
Aircrafts in the US are expected to be equipped with new global-positioning technology by 2020. The equipment, which could cost US airlines as much as USD 6.2 billion by some estimates to install in all aircrafts’ cockpits, is a key element of the NextGen Air Traffic Control system that would replace the 1950s-era ground-based radar control system now in use. The system is supposed to improve safety, reduce air traffic congestion, increase traffic capacity, lower fuel consumption and shorten commercial flight times.
DGPS to aid Mumbai Metro
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) in India has allowed the use of DGPS to speed up the completion of the second corridor of Mumbai Metro. Estimated to cost Rs 8,250 crore, the contract has been awarded to a consortium led by Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra). DGPS will ensure the probability of the error is minimal as it will have exceptional accuracy and ensure smooth completion of the project. RInfra has roped in Fugro, who will co-ordinate and map the entire 32-km stretch.
Encyclopaedia Britannica loses suit
Garmin Ltd. and Toyota Motor Corp. were among seven companies that defeated patent-infringement claims filed by Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. over digital maps. Two patents owned by the research publisher are invalid, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said. The decision upholds a lower-court ruling that the patents covered ideas that were publicly known more than a year before the date of the Encyclopaedia Britannica inventions.