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12. February 2018, admin - Miscellaneous


"Red Flag": US Air Force is preparing for a military conflict in which the satellite navigation system is unavailable. GPS is operated by the US Department of Defense and currently has 31 satellites in orbit. Now, training missions must be carried out without the familiar system. The exercise, which runs until 16th of February, will also have an impact on the civilian population.

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26. June 2017, admin - 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


27. January 2017, admin - GATE


The GATE system will continue its operation until end of 2019. A corresponding contract has been awarded to IFEN GmbH through the German Aerospace Agency (DLR). Currently the Galileo test bed gets adjusted for its operation in combination with the recently started Galileo Initial Service Phase.

The GATE system has been reduced from eight to three transmitter stations and is currently upgraded with the latest signal generator capabilities. These three transmit stations will be operating solely in combination with the Galileo system in orbit and will provide a wide range of error simulation possibilities to be incorporated as virtual satellites within the Galileo constellation.

GATE will provide continuously valuable services to Galileo research and development community for testing their navigation receivers and applications, mainly focused on robustness against various malfunctions which possibly occur in a navigation system. These incidents include wrong navigation data content, satellite clock failures (feared events) and signal deformations (evil waveforms).

For robustness tests of navigation receivers and applications, GATE offers for static tests an office within the test area as well as a full equipped measurement vehicle for land mobile tests. The possibility for UAV tests will be available mid of 2017.


01. January 2017, admin - Galileo

On December 15, 2016 the European Commission (EC), owner of Europe's GNSS system, Galileo, formally announced the start of Galileo Initial Services, the first step towards full operational capability. Further launches will continue to build the satellite constellation, which will gradually improve the system performance and availability worldwide.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has overseen the design and deployment of Galileo on behalf of the Commission, with system operations and service provision due to be entrusted to the European Global Navigation Satellite System Agency next year.

"Galileo offering initial services is a major achievement for Europe and a first delivery of our recent Space Strategy," said European Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (GROWTH). "This is the result of a concerted effort to design and build the most accurate satellite navigation system in the world. It demonstrates the technological excellence of Europe, its know-how, and its commitment to delivering space-based services and applications. No single European country could have done it alone."

Paul Verhoef, ESA's Director of the Galileo Program and Navigation-related Activities, added, "Today's announcement marks the transition from a test system to one that is operational. We are proud to be a partner in the Galileo program. Still, much work remains to be done. The entire constellation needs to be deployed, the ground infrastructure needs to be completed and the overall system needs to be tested and verified. In addition, together with the Commission we have started work on the second generation, and this is likely to be a long but rewarding adventure."

Initial Services

Galileo is now providing three service types, the availability of which will continue to be improved. "Service definition documents" have been completed for all three.

The Open Service (OS) is a free mass-market service for users with enabled chipsets in, for instance, smartphones and car navigation systems. Fully interoperable with GPS, combined coverage will deliver more accurate and reliable positioning for users.

Galileo's Public Regulated Service (PRS) is an encrypted, robust service for government-authorised users such as civil protection, fire brigades and the police.

The Search and Rescue (SAR) service is Europe's contribution to the long-running Cospas-Sarsat international emergency beacon location. With Galileo and other GNSS-based SAR services, the time between someone locating a distress beacon when lost at sea or in the wilderness will be reduced from up to three hours to just 10 minutes, with its location determined to within 5 kilometers, rather than the previous 10 kilometers.

After five years of launches, 18 Galileo satellites are now in orbit, but only 11 will be available for the Open Service and PRS and 12 for SAR services. The most recent four, launched last month, are undergoing testing ahead of joining the constellation next spring. Two satellites are in incorrect orbits due to a 2014 launch anomaly, although the ESA engineers subsequently regained control of the spacecraft and were able to improve the orbits. As a result, one of those satellites can be used for the SAR service. Another spacecraft is currently out of service.

With the declaration of Initial Services Galileo will deliver, in conjunction with GPS, the following capabilities free of charge:

Support to emergency operations: Today it can take hours to detect a person lost at sea or in the mountains. With the Search and Rescue Service (SAR), people placing a distress call from a Galileo-enabled beacon can now be found and rescued more quickly, since the detection time will be reduced to only 10 minutes. This service should be later improved by notifying the sender of the emergency call that he/she has been located and help is underway.

More accurate navigation for citizens: The Galileo Open Service will offer a free mass-market service for positioning, navigation and timing that can be used by Galileo-enabled chipsets in smartphones or in car navigation systems. A number of such smartphones have been on the market since autumn 2016 and they can now use the signals to provide more accurate positions.

By 2018, Galileo will also be found in every new model of vehicle sold in Europe, providing enhanced navigation services to a range of devices as well as enabling the eCall emergency response system. People using navigation devices in cities, where satellite signals can often be blocked by tall buildings, will particularly benefit from the increase in positioning accuracy provided by Galileo.

Better time synchronization for critical infrastructures: Galileo will, through its high precision clocks, enable more resilient time synchronization of banking and financial transactions, telecommunications and energy distribution networks such as smart-grids. This will help them operate more efficiently.

Secure services for public authorities: Galileo will also support public authorities such as civil protection services, humanitarian aid services, customs officers and the police through the Public Regulated Service. It will offer a particularly robust and fully encrypted service for government users during national emergencies or crisis situations, such as terrorist attacks, to ensure continuity of services.


More Yet to Come

The declaration of Galileo Initial Services means that the Galileo satellites and ground infrastructure are now operationally ready. However, because the satellite constellation not complete, stand-alone positioning using only Galileo signals will not available all the time. That's why, during the initial phase, the first Galileo signals will be used in combination with other satellite navigation systems, such as the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS).

The full Galileo constellation will consist of 24 satellites plus orbital spares, intended to prevent any interruption in service.

ESA Director general Jan Woerner noted, "For ESA, this is a very important moment in the program. We know that the performance of the system is excellent. The announcement of Initial Services is the recognition that the effort, time, and money invested by ESA and the Commission has succeeded, that the work of our engineers and other staff has paid off, that European industry can be proud of having delivered this fantastic system."

In the coming years, new satellites will be launched to enlarge the Galileo constellation, which will gradually improve Galileo availability worldwide. The constellation is expected to be complete by 2020 when Galileo will reach full operational capacity.

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) will manage Galileo Initial Services on behalf of the EC, which runs the overall Galileo program. GSA signed a services contract today with SpaceOpal to handle day-to-day operations of Galileo. The EC has handed over the responsibility for deployment of the system and technical support to operational tasks to ESA.

In a congratulatory media announcement today, NovAtel President and CEO Michael Ritter stated, "Today's declaration of the availability of the first three Galileo services - the Open Service, Public Regulated Service, and Search and Rescue Service - confirms the stalwart and persevering leadership that this trio of agencies has provided over the years of the system's development. It also validates the confidence of the program's supporters that Europe would join the world's operators of global navigation satellite systems."

NovAtel's high precision GNSS receivers, antennas, and certified ground-reference station receivers have supported Galileo signals in anticipation of the complete constellation. Moreover, NovAtel is now broadcasting Galileo Precise Point Positioning (PPP) corrections through its TerraStar correction services.

Copyright © 2016 Gibbons Media & Research LLC, all rights reserved.

Source: Inside GNSS





01. January 2017, admin - Galileo


Following a complex tendering process that began in January 2015, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) awarded the Galileo Service Operator (GSOp) contract, with a value of up to €1.5 billion (US$1.56 billion), to Spaceopal at a special event in Brussels on December 15, 2016.

The ceremony was featured in an event organized on the occasion of the European Commission's declaration of Galileo Initial Services.

The 10-year contract covers the operation and maintenance of the Galileo satellite system and its committed performance level: in particular, the operations and control of the system, the logistics and maintenance of the systems, and infrastructureas well as the user support services. Spaceopal is a joint venture between Telespazio and the German Space Agency (DLR).

"With its emphasis on service performance, this contract will shape the future of Galileo," said GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides. "We look forward to building a strong partnership with Spaceopal as Galileo moves towards full operational capability under the responsibility of the GSA from January 2017."

Specifically, under GSA oversight, the contract awarded to Spaceopal includes the following responsibilities:

  • Secure operations of Galileo from two mission control centers (GCC), located in Germany and Italy, and the European GNSS Service Center (GSC) in Spain for user support services
  • management of the Galileo Data Distribution Network (GDDN)
  • integrated logistics support and maintenance for the entire space and ground infrastructure;
  • monitoring ofthe system performance;
  • support the completion of the Galileo infrastructure and associated launches. To ensure a balance between ongoing deployment needs and the priority of the service provision, the contract includes clear and tangible performance indicators (KPIs).

Spaceopal has served as the contractor for Galileo operations since 2010 under the Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) Operations Framework Contract.

"Spaceopal is committed to continuing to support the deployment and completion of the Galileo system," says Spaceopal CEOGiuseppe Lenzo. "We are proud that the GSA has selected us to further contribute by bringing the Galileo signal in space to users and providing best-in-class satellite navigation services."

The contract was signed by des Dorides, Spaceopal's CEO Giuseppe Lenzo, and Simon Plum, the company's COO, at an official ceremony held today in Brussels.

Copyright © 2016 Gibbons Media & Research LLC, all rights reserved.

Source: Inside GNSS




15. December 2016, admin - Publications Press & Media


A contribution to the navitec 2016, ESA-ESTEC, 14-16 December 2016, December 2016

by IFEN GmbH, Igaspin GmbH, Department of Geomatics and ESA/ESTEC.

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05. December 2016, admin - Miscellaneous

The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) has announced the introduction of a leap second to occur at the end of December 2016.

Coordinated universal time (UTC) will sequence as follows:

  1. 31 Dec 2016 23 hours 59 minutes 59 seconds
  2. 31 Dec 2016 23 hours 59 minutes 60 seconds
  3. 01 Jan 2017 00 hours 00 minutes 00 seconds

Users are advised that the UTC data in the Galileo navigation message will change in accordance with OS SIS ICD (Section 5.1.7)

Before the leap second:

GST-UTC is 17 (GST is ahead of UTC by 17 seconds)

After the leap second:

GST-UTC will be 18 (GST will be ahead of UTC by 18 seconds)

Text source Earth Orientation Center of IERS, Observatoire de Paris, France



09. November 2016, admin - 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



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