The System

All Systems Go, with a Spring into Space

April 22, 2015By

Planet Earth gained five new navigation satellites in late March, for four satellite systems. GPS. The U.S. Air Force’s ninth GPS Block IIF satellite (GPS IIF-9) launched on March 25 from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The IIF-9 rode aboard a Delta IV rocket, the workhorse of the GPS fleet for successful launches. The satellite was declared operational on April 21. “Many... read more

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The System: Celebrating 20 Years of GPS

March 31, 2015By
GPSIIF-launch-ULA-8

April marks the 20th anniversary of GPS FOC. U.S. Air Force Space Command declared Full Operational Capability (FOC) for the GPS constellation April 27, 1995, signifying the system met all requirements with 24 operational Block II/IIA satellites in their assigned orbital slots and providing both the military Precise Positioning Service (PPS) performance standard and the civil Standard Positioning Service (SPS)... read more

The System: Leap-Second Confusion

March 1, 2015By

The United States Civil GPS Service Interface Committee (CGSIC) has issued a notice about a problem some receivers are having implementing the correct time. The U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center has received reports of synchronization issues since the implementation of a leap second on Jan. 21. Users experiencing this problem should contact the receiver manufacturer for a firmware or software... read more

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The System: ESA’s Second FOC Moves Up

February 1, 2015By
The fifth Galileo satellite is now pointing toward Earth.

By Tim Reynolds, GPS World European correspondent Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain of the European Space Agency (ESA) announced Jan. 16 that the second errant full-operational capability (FOC) satellite, launched in August, had started its orbital change maneuver the previous day. He anticipated that the orbital change would be completed and the final orbit — “albeit somewhat lower in height than the one... read more

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The System: First Galileo FOC Satellite on the Air

January 1, 2015By

Will Be Employable for Surveying, Precise Positioning, and Geodesy By Peter Steigenberger and André Hauschild, German Aerospace Center (DLR) / German Space Operations Center The first Full Operational Capability (FOC) Galileo satellite started transmitting L-band navigation signals on November 29, 2014. Based on data collected by a global network of GNSS tracking stations of the Cooperative Network for GNSS Observation (CONGO) and... read more

The System: eLoran Operational on Eastern UK Coast

December 1, 2014By
Bridge of the Galatea, a GLA vessel that carries a eLoran receiver and conducted tests of the new system.

Back-up to Vulnerable GPS Signals Required for Busy Shipping Lanes The General Lighthouse Authorities (GLAs) of the UK and Ireland announced October 31 the initial operational capability of UK maritime eLoran. Seven differential reference stations now provide additional position, navigation, and timing (PNT) information via low-frequency pulses to ships fitted with eLoran receivers. The service will help ensure they can... read more

The System: Fregat Design Ambiguity Steered Galileo Wrong

November 1, 2014By

Cross-Installed Hydrazine, Helium Lines Froze Thrusters The root cause of the anomaly that sent two Galileo satellites into the wrong orbit on August 22 was a shortcoming in the system thermal analysis performed during stage design, and not an operator error during stage assembly, according to findings by an independent inquiry board. The independent inquiry board was created by Arianespace,... read more

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The System: One Step Back, Three Steps Forward

September 1, 2014By
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Galileo IOV Bird Mute; New Draft ICD; CS Proved; Late August Launch Orbiting in silence since an onboard power mishap on May 27, troubled E20 emitted cheeps from space on August 6, 7,  and 8, broadcasting on the L1 frequency. Nothing has been heard since.  Meanwhile, the European Commission (EC) published a new draft version of the Galileo Open Service... read more

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