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Aug 2010 | No Comment


The International Committee on GNSS 2010 report

The ICG has published a report on “Current and Planned Global and Regional Navigation Satellite Systems and Satellite- Based Augmentation Systems (SBASes),” which provides an overview of the current status and plans for the world’s GNSS systems and associated regional and SBASes. It is based on the reports submitted by the members of the ICG Providers’ Forum on their planned or existing systems and on the policies and procedures that govern the service they provide. The purpose of this publication is to provide the user community and receiver-producing industry with a clear and consistent description of the global and regional systems that are currently operating and that will operate in the future. In order to reflect changes that will take place in the future, the publication will be updated as necessary.

Small variance noted in L5 signal

Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have found a small variance in the L5 signal on GPS IIF-1. The signal variation results in no more than a 5-cm error with a predictable periodicity of about 6 hours. DLR also reports that the signal appears to be “hot” or stronger than anticipated or advertised by about 1/2 db. Initial reaction from the GPS Wing and Air Force experts at Schriever Air Force Base is that the signal fluctuation appears to be temperature-related, as the periodicity correlates directly to the temperature extremes the satellite is experiencing at this time of year in its MEO orbit.

IG-500N: GPS aided miniature AHRS

The IG-500N is a small GPS enhanced miniature Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS). It includes a MEMS based Inertial Measurement Unit, a GPS receiver and a pressure sensor. It provides a precise and drift-free 3D orientation and position, even in high G maneuvers at high updates rates, up to 100 Hz.

FAA asks industry for GPS backup ideas

The US FAA will hold a 3-day public meeting in August, in Stanford, California to gather industry ideas on alternative positioning, navigation and timing (APNT) methods that could be used if GNSS services are interrupted. At present, the FAA uses a variety of non- GNSS equipment, including distance measuring equipment, VHF radio, ILS and radar surveillance, for APNT services.

Use of foreign GNSS services to strengthen GPS authorized

A recently announced U.S. National Space Policy says that foreign GNSS services may be used “to augment and strengthen the resiliency of GPS.” In a document that underlines the Obama administration’s intention to rely more on international cooperation in space-related activities and “energize competitive domestic industries to participate in global markets,” the new policy reaffirms recent efforts “to engage with foreign GNSS providers to encourage compatibility and interoperability, promote transparency in civil service provision, and enable market access for U.S. industry.” The policy document charges U.S. governmental departments and agencies to identify potential areas for international cooperation including GNSS and related fields.

U.S. Air Force may slow planned GPS III production pace

The primary payload for the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation GPS III navigation satellites recently was cleared for production even as the service contemplates slowing down the program based on the health of the current GPS constellation. The U.S. DoD, in a 2010 budget reprogramming package, is seeking permission to redirect $2.7 million that had been appropriated for GPS III parts procurement to other activities. It is not clear whether the request has any connection to a possible slowdown of the program.

Egis to study on impact of solar activities on GNSS-based aviation

Taking into account upcoming high solar activity, a need was felt for EUROCONTROL the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation to study ionosphere effects on GNSS applications to plan mitigation measures for future GNSS-based aviation applications. Egis has been awarded a contract with EUROCONTROL in partnership with the French Air Navigation Service Provider, the French Space Agency, the Civil Aviation University as well as CLS and M3 Systems companies.

GPS new tool in reading tropical storms

One of the new pieces of data that meteorologists are using to help predict the intensity of tropical storms is GPS signals. GPS signals, transmitted by satellite and received on the ground, are slowed down and bent by water vapor in the earth’s atmosphere. The effect used to be considered a problem, as it related to GPS systems, but now scientists have learned to “read” this effect to measure the area’s water vapor content. Moisture rich air can make a hurricane more intense, while dry air can weaken it.

In the past, it was difficult to collect such water vapor measurements over the ocean. Frisbee-sized satellite antennas have been placed atop stationary platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, and scientists will incorporate this new GPS water vapor data into forecast computer models, which should result in improvements in storm forecasts.

GPS to curb electoral irregularities

Interim Independent electoral Commission (IIEC) with the support of strategic partners is working on a GPS-based system for mapping polling centers in Kenya. The technology will identify the electoral units based on constituency rather than administrative boundaries

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