First Fix: Arrivals and Departures

January 20, 2023  - By
Matteo Luccio

Matteo Luccio

As we begin 2023, GNSS development continues apace, as described in this issue’s annual “Directions” section by representatives of Galileo, GLONASS, and BeiDou. We plan to publish a similar update on the GPS program soon.

Galileo’s user base now stands at more than 3.5 billion, and the services it provides continue to improve and expand. Beginning early this year, free precise point positioning (PPP) corrections for Galileo and GPS (single- and multi-frequency) will improve real-time user position by up to 10 times. While the discontinuation of Soyuz launch services from the Kourou Space Centre in French Guiana, due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, delayed the two Galileo launches that had been planned for last year, 2022 was a key year for the development of Galileo Second Generation (G2G) satellites. They will provide, among other innovations, a reconfigurable fully digital navigation payload, point-to-point connection between satellites, and advanced jamming and spoofing protection mechanisms.

On Nov. 29, 2022, Russia launched the 51st Glonass-M satellite, about 20 years after launching the first one. Currently, 13 of these satellites are operating beyond their guaranteed lifetime, with an average orbit lifetime of more than 10 years. Starting this year, the constellation will be renewed by Glonass-K and Glonass-K2 satellites, which provide CDMA signals to users.

Currently, 45 BDS satellites are operational in orbits, including 15 BDS-2 satellites and 30 BDS-3 satellites. The constellation says that it has reached a continuity of 99.996% and an availability of 99%, with a global positioning accuracy better than 1.5 meters horizontally and 2.5 meters vertically (95% confidence).

Tracy Cozzens, who has been a pillar of this magazine for 17 years, is retiring this month. We will miss her journalistic acumen, dedication to clarity and style, attention to detail, and wealth of institutional knowledge. We wish her a well-deserved retirement. At the same time, we welcome aboard Maddie Saines, our new managing editor, who is near the beginning of her career.

I am pleased to announce that Rob VanBrunt has joined GPS World’s Editorial Advisory Board. In mid-December, the board of directors of Spirent Federal Systems, a provider of PNT test solutions for the U.S. government and contractors, appointed him as the company’s president/CEO-designate, a role he will assume when the onboarding process is complete.

VanBrunt began his career at Spirent Communications in 1990 as product developer and manager, and then held posts of increasing responsibilities, moving to director and vice president roles focused on management, strategy and mergers and acquisitions. Most recently, he was executive vice president in the Office of Business Excellence. VanBrunt has a B.S. in electrical and electronics engineering from Rutgers University.

Spirent Communications is a global provider of automated test and assurance solutions for networks, cybersecurity and positioning. In July 2001, the company formed Spirent Federal Systems as a wholly owned subsidiary and U.S. proxy company. Spirent Federal markets and sells Spirent Communications’ products in North America. It also provides value-added features and ongoing customer support.

On Jan. 1, I lost my beloved mother, Maristella “Mimi” Luccio. She was 87.

Matteo Luccio | Editor-in-Chief

About the Author: Matteo Luccio

Matteo Luccio, GPS World’s Editor-in-Chief, possesses more than 20 years of experience as a writer and editor for GNSS and geospatial technology magazines. He began his career in the industry in 2000, serving as managing editor of GPS World and Galileo’s World, then as editor of Earth Observation Magazine and GIS Monitor. His technical articles have been published in more than 20 professional magazines, including Professional Surveyor Magazine, Apogeo Spatial and xyHt. Luccio holds a master’s degree in political science from MIT. He can be reached at or 541-543-0525.