System and Business News

The System: GPS L5, the Real Stuff

July 1, 2010By
Fig.1 Carrier-to-noise-density ratio of GPS (left) and GIOVE-A/B signals measured at the Wettzell station on June 17, 2010. Red curves refer to signals in the L5/E5a band and include data from the PRN1 test satellite and the new PRN25 satellite.

The L5 signal of the new Block IIF satellite shows a very favorable signal strength (Fig. 1), which is somewhere in between the L1 and L2C signal strength for the employed antenna and slightly higher than that of the GIOVE-A/B satellites. While the L5 test signal of the second-last Block IIR-M satellite (PRN1/SVN49) is transmitted through a narrow beam antenna and shows a steep variation with elevation angle, the new satellite exhibits an almost constant flux irrespective of the boresight angle. read more

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The System: First IIF Satellite Speeds into Orbit

June 1, 2010By

  At press time, GPS spacecraft IIF-1 was set to be launched May 27 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This first of a new generation of satellites will travel quickly — instead of taking several days to reach its orbital slot, the new satellite should make the journey in three-and-a-half hours. The new IIFs will broadcast the... read more

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The System: Galileo ICD, Free at Last

May 1, 2010By

Galileo ICD, Free at Last The European Commission (EC) has published an updated Galileo Open Service Signal-In-Space Interface Control Document (OS SIS ICD) giving technical specifications and performance expectations for the future system. As reported by GPS World in October 2009, the EC will not charge for manufacturing licenses. No fees will be required for manufacturers to design, develop, make,... read more

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Mobile World Congress 2010: Planet of the Apps

April 1, 2010By
APP PLANET featured 100 exhibitors and a lounge for old-fashioned social networking.

It’s that time of year, around Valentine’s Day, when most of the who’s who in the mobile phone industry meet at the Mobile World Congress. I have been attending this event for nearly 15 years, and have seen the location change from Cannes to Barcelona, and the name change from GSM World Congress to 3GSM World Congress to Mobile World Congress. At the same time, the number of mobile phone users shot up from the millions to the billions. A new feature this year was the App Planet hall. The attendance of 47,000 was only marginally down from the 49,000 visitors in 2009, making it still a very busy a event, with no sign of the recession compared to other shows I’ve seen. It’s still the best place to meet companies in the mobile space — I met 25 in three days, as well as running into ex-colleagues and contacts who, like me, have been attending for years. read more

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The System: Vistas from the Summit

April 1, 2010By

“This is an event where one gets one’s goals for the next year.” Paul Verhoef, program director for satellite navigation programs of the European Commission, may have exaggerated for effect, and for the benefit of his audience and hosts at the Munich Satellite Navigation Summit in March. But not by much. The conference, now in its eighth year, has assumed... read more

The System: New Kid on the Block: IIF Readied

March 1, 2010By
It takes four hefty guys to wheel the new satellite along the tarmac, but it will only take one Delta IV rocket to lift it 20,171 kilometers into space on May 13.

The first Block IIF satellite destined for orbit arrived at the Navstar Processing Facility at Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard an Air Force C-17 cargo aircraft on February 12. It is now undergoing preparations for its launch this spring on a Delta IV rocket. Block IIF will enhance GPS performance by reportedly providing twice the navigational accuracy of heritage satellites, more robust signals for commercial aviation and search-and-rescue, and greater resistance to jamming in hostile environments. Plus: GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo, 24+3 FAQ, and AEP 5.5C software update. read more

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The System: New Math for GPS

February 1, 2010By

The U.S. Air Force GPS Wing and 50th Space Wing have begun repositioning GPS satellites in space to fly what they call the 24+3 or Expandable 24 constellation plan. The initiative will take up to 24 months to fully implement. Benefits to users will be slowly realized during that time, as the number of GPS satellites in view will increase, potentially increasing GPS receiver accuracy. Plus: Penny-Wise, Pound-Foolish U.S. Coast Guard to Pull Loran Plug; Galileo Satellites Awarded to OHB; Compass at Three read more

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The System: GLONASS Heaves Three Aloft

January 1, 2010By

The Russian space agency Roscosmos launched a venerable Proton rocket carrying three GLONASS-M satellites into orbit on December 14. Each 3,000-pound satellite is designed to last seven years. They join a constellation numbering 19 satellites, although only 16 are healthy. Russian politicians and satnav system managers had hoped to launch six satellites between September and December, to attain a global service... read more