China Satellite Communications and Row 44 owner Global Eagle Entertainment have signed a memorandum of understanding to help Chinese airlines that want to add in-flight connectivity services. The agreement will also allow Row 44 customer airlines to continue delivering in-flight connectivity services while flying into and over China. The agreement calls for Row 44 to provide hardware and software to support satellite-based in-flight connectivity.
With the continuing strains on the U.S. national budget and the possibility that the Administration’s sequestration program could last for several more years, Pentagon planners are said to be worrying that the costs of the future GPS III system could become out of reach, despite its major advances and the need to have modernized replacement satellites ready to be deployed as the orbital lives of current satellites end.
Air Services, a division of Constant Aviation specializing in commercial aircraft maintenance and headquartered at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, opened a satellite accessory and composite facility in Columbus, Ohio. Stephen Maiden, Air Services president, said the satellite facility is dedicated to a single customer, which he declined to identify.
Intelsat’s Galaxy 15 geostationary satellite, which ceased broadcasting the Waas signal covering some airports in Alaska on December 16, is now back under control.
Satellite communications provider Iridium is in discussions with other aerospace companies and air navigation service providers to equip its next generation of 66 low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellites with automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) payloads, making possible global surveillance of aircraft to include oceanic and polar regions.
Small, inexpensive GPS jammers carried by truckers have caused the occasional shutdown of the Laas test installation at Newark Airport. The devices, powered by simply plugging into the cigarette lighter, are intended to foil interrogations of the truck's remotely installed GPS and its coupled cellphone by the trucking company's dispatcher to check on the vehicleπs location and progress.
The U.S. Departments of Defense, Transportation, Commerce and Homeland Security, as well as the civil GPS Industry Council–of which NBAA is a member–have filed objections with the FCC over a new satellite-enabled cellular broadband service from LightSquared.
Earlier this month Iridium reached a preliminary agreement for $1.8 billion to finance its Next constellation of advanced low orbit communications satellites, slated for launch beginning in 2015. A syndicate of nine international banks is providing the financing.
Israel’s latest remote-sensing satellite, Ofeq-9, was successfully placed in orbit on June 22 by an Israel Aerospace Industries Shavit vehicle launched from Palmachim Air Force Base, near the cities of Rishon LeZion and Yavne. Three days later the IAI-built satellite began transmitting its first high-resolution images.
Testifying before Congress in May, Stanford University professor Brad Parkinson–the chief architect of GPS and the original GPS program manager before his retirement from the USAF–echoed the concern of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that there will be insufficient backup satellites to fill gaps in the constellation before the DOD’s forecast 2014 launches of its next-generation GPS III units. (see AIN, June, page one.)
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