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26. June 2017, Veronika Sax - Miscellaneous


In a specialized cleanroom designed to streamline satellite production, Lockheed Martin is in full production building GPS III - the world's most powerful GPS satellite, according to the company. The company's second GPS III satellite is now assembled and preparing for environmental testing, and the third satellite is close behind, having just received its navigation payload.

In May, the U.S. Air Force's second GPS III satellite was fully assembled and entered into Space Vehicle (SV) single line flow when Lockheed Martin technicians successfully integrated its system module, propulsion core and antenna deck. GPS III SV02 smoothly came together through a series of carefully-orchestrated manufacturing maneuvers utilizing a 10-ton crane.

GPS III SV02 is part of the Air Force's next generation of GPS satellites, which have three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities. Spacecraft life will extend to 15 years, 25 percent longer than the newest GPS satellites on-orbit today.

"Now fully-integrated, GPS III SV02 will begin environmental testing this summer to ensure the satellite is ready for the rigors of space," said Mark Stewart, vice president of Navigation Systems for Lockheed Martin. "This testing simulates harsh launch and space environments the satellite will endure, and further reduces any risk prior to it being available for launch in 2018."

A Factory Full of GPS III Satellites

Right behind GPS III SV02, eight more contracted GPS III satellites are moving through production flow at Lockheed Martin's nearly 40,000 sq. ft., state-of-the-art GPS III Processing Facility near Denver.

GPS III SV03 recently completed initial power on of its bus, which contains the electronics that operate the satellite. The company received SV03's navigation payload from its supplier, Harris Corporation, in May. After further system testing, SV03 will be ready for full integration later this fall.

GPS III SV04's major electronics are being populated as it prepares for its own initial power on. This satellite's navigation payload is expected to arrive and be integrated into its space vehicle before the end of the year.

Components of the next six satellites, GPS III SV05-10, are arriving at Lockheed Martin daily from more than 250 suppliers in 29 states. To date, more than 70 percent of parts and materials for SV05-08 have been received. The company was put under production contract for SV09-10 in late 2016.

All of these satellites are now following the Air Force's first GPS III satellite, GPS III SV01, through a proven assembly, integration and test flow. SV01 completed its final Factory Functional Qualification Testing and was placed into storage in February 2017 ahead of its expected 2018 launch.

Investing in the Future of GPS III

With multiple satellites now in production, Lockheed Martin engineers are building GPS III smarter and faster. Key to their success is the company's GPS III Processing Facility, a cleanroom manufacturing center designed in a virtual-reality environment to maximize production efficiency. Lockheed Martin invested $128 million in the new center, which opened in 2011.

The company's unique satellite design includes a flexible, modular architecture that allows for the easy insertion of new technology as it becomes available in the future or if the Air Force's mission needs change. Satellites based off this design also will already be compatible with both the Air Force's next generation Operational Control System (OCX) and the existing GPS constellation.

"From day one, GPS III has been a team effort and our successes would not have been possible without a strong Air Force partnership," Stewart said. "GPS III will ensure the U.S. maintains the gold standard for positioning, navigation and timing. We look forward to bringing GPS III's new capabilities to our warfighters and beginning to launch these satellites in 2018."

The GPS III team is led by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Air Force Space Command's 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS), based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.

Source:  GPS World


Photo: Lockheed Martin


09. November 2016, Veronika Sax - Galileo


For its ninth launch of the year, and the sixth Ariane 5 liftoff from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana during 2016, Arianespace will orbit four more satellites for the Galileo constellation. This mission is being performed on behalf of the European Commission under a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA).

For the first time, an Ariane 5 ES version will be used to orbit satellites in Europe's own satellite navigation system. At the completion of this mission, designated Flight VA233 in Arianespace's launcher family numbering system, 18 Galileo spacecraft will have been launched by Arianespace.

 Arianespace is proud to deploy its entire family of launch vehicles to address Europe's needs and guarantee its independent access to space.

The launch will be performed from Ariane Launch Complex No. 3 (ELA 3) in Kourou, French Guiana. The Launch Readiness Review (LRR) will take place on Monday, November 14, 2016 in Kourou, to authorize the start of operations for the final countdown.

Galileo, an emblematic European program

The new Galileo global satellite navigation system is an emblematic European Union program - led by its Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (GROWTH); with ESA assigned the responsibility for design and procurement.

The Galileo FOC (Full Operational Capacity) satellites are built in Europe by OHB System of Bremen, Germany as prime contractor, with all payloads supplied by SSTL (Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.), a British subsidiary of Airbus Defence and Space.

For further information, download the launch kit here.

To watch a live, high-speed online transmission of the launch (including commentary from the launch site in French and English), go to arianespace.com on November 17, 2016, starting 20 minutes before liftoff.

Text source arianespace.com




13. September 2016, Veronika Sax - IFEN Products


Poing, Germany - IFEN GmbH, the leading manufacturer of GNSS navigation test and development products and services, today announced the launch of its new NCS TITAN GNSS Simulator.

The unique flexibility and outstanding performance of the NCS TITAN GNSS Simulator is beyond the capabilities of any other simulator currently on the market. With up to 256 channels (and 1024 multipath channels) and up to 4 RF outputs per chassis, the extra complexity and cost of using multiple signal generators is avoided, improving reliability without compromising on functionality.

The innovative design of the NCS TITAN allows users configure channels for any GNSS signals and allocate those channels to any of the RF outputs fitted. This flexibility enables the same Simulator hardware to be used for an extensive range of tests, for all types of GNSS applications. The NCS TITAN sets new standards in the field of GNSS Simulation, in terms of fidelity, accuracy, dynamics, iteration rates and reliability.

"The launch of our brand new NCS TITAN GNSS Simulator represents another milestone for our NCS GNSS simulator products", explains Dr. Günter Heinrichs, Head of Customer Applications. "This shows clearly once again our commitment to ongoing product enhancement and dedication to providing our customers with best GNSS test equipment on the Market". The NCS TITAN GNSS Simulator has been developed in cooperation with WORK Microwave GmbH, Germany.


15. June 2016, Veronika Sax - Miscellaneous


The Chinese Beidou system's 23rd satellite was launched into orbit Sunday aboard a Long March 3C rocket. The Long March 3C rocket lifted off at 1530 GMT (11:30 a.m. EDT) from the Xichang launch base in southwestern China's Sichuan province, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

This is the third new satellite to join the fleet this year. The 21st satellite was launched in February, and the 22nd in March. The satellite was deployed into an elliptical orbit more than 22,000 miles (35,700 kilometers) above Earth. It will power its way into a circular geosynchronous orbit over the equator in the coming weeks.

Text source GPS World




06. April 2016, Veronika Sax - Galileo

On April 6th, 2016 the next two Galileo FOC* satellites (Danielè and Alizée) have arrived safe and sound at the launch site in Kourou (French Guiana).

The Launch of the next two satellites is scheduled for May 24, 2016 and will be carried out by Arianespace from the Guyana Space Center in French Guyana. It will orbit two FOC (Full Operational Capability) satellites, and precedes Arianespace's already scheduled launch of four Galileo satellites on an Ariane 5 ES during the fourth quarter of 2016.

With these two launches, six new Galileo satellites will be deployed in 2016, as in 2015, bringing the total number in the Galileo-constellation to 18 by the end of the year. Each of the Galileo satellites is named after one of the children who won the painting competition organized by the European Commission in 2011.


* The FOC (full operational capability) phase of the Galileo program is being funded and executed by the European Union. The European Commission and the European Space Agency ESA have signed a contract under which ESA acts as the development and sourcing agency on behalf of the Commission. The view expressed here does not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Union and/or ESA. Galileo is a registered trademark owned by the EU and ESA and registered under OHIM application number 002742237.


Text source OHB SE Website




20. January 2016, Veronika Sax - Miscellaneous

The fifth satellite in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) constellation lifted off on time Jan. 20 from Satish Dhawan Space Center on Sriharikota Island, on India's east coast.

As in the previous four launches of IRNSS satellites, the navigation satellite rode aboard a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). This is the 33rd launch for the PSLV.

After the PSLV-C31 lift-off at 0401 GMT Wednesday (11:01 p.m. EST Tuesday) with the ignition of the first stage, the subsequent important flight events - strap-on ignitions and separations, first stage separation, second stage ignition, heat-shield separation, second stage separation, third stage ignition and separation, fourth stage ignition and satellite injection - all took place as planned.

We are pleased to announce that the signal quality of the IRNSS Navigation Payload has been tested successfully by using IFEN´s high performance IRNSS Payload Coherence Test Receiver (PCTR).