System of Systems: FCC seeks comments on Galileo use in US

February 4, 2017  - By

FCC seeks comments on Galileo use in US

Galileo satellites 15–18 being deployed from their dispenser, two at a time. (Artist’s rendering: ESA)

Galileo satellites 15–18 being deployed from their dispenser, two at a time. (Artist’s rendering: ESA)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is inviting public comments on the European Commission’s request for a waiver of licensing requirements applicable to Galileo receivers in the United States.

Comments are due Feb. 21. Read the notice here.

If the waiver is approved, Galileo-capable receivers won’t need to be licensed in the U.S. At present, FCC rules require that receivers operating with non-U.S.-licensed space stations obtain a license.

In a letter dated Jan. 30, 2015, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration submitted a request by the European Commission (EC) for a waiver of the FCC licensing requirements to permit non-federal receive-only Earth stations — receivers — within the U.S. to operate with Galileo signals.

Interested parties can file comments on or before Feb. 21, and reply to comments on or before March 23. All comments should reference IB Docket No. 17-16. Go to to file comments.

The Commerce Department has played a major role in supporting the European Commission’s waiver request. As co-chair of the GPS-Galileo Working Group on Trade and Civil Applications, the Office of Space Commerce has been discussing the FCC licensing requirement with the European Commission and assisting it with the waiver request for several years. The waiver, if granted, would allow use of Galileo in official government systems such as Enhanced 911.

Previously, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) assessed federal users’ perspectives on the EC request and did not find any interference issues. The FCC stated that it agrees with the NTIA, but wants confirmation and public input.

Power increase tested on 19 GPS II satellites

On Jan. 25, Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) began a limited-duration test implementing an increase of the Ll C/A power level on the GPS Block IIR-M and llF satellites — a total of 19 satellites.

Photo: ULA

Launch of GPS IIF-12. (Photo: ULA)

The C/A power was set to remain within IS-GPS-200-H specifications, and the power increase was not expected to increase the noise floor by more than 0.3 signal-to-noise ratio in the worst case.

“We assess that there will be no adverse impacts to civil, commercial or military GPS users, but anyone who experiences issues during this test should address them through established reporting channels,” said Gen. John W. Raymond, U.S. Air Force commander, in a Memorandum for Distribution.

Military users can contact the GPS Operations Center at DSN 560-2541, while civilian users can contact the U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center at 703-313-5900.

In the event of unexpected critical impacts, a process to cease testing operations has been put in place.

OCX passes qualification tests

Raytheon completed factory qualification testing of the Launch and Checkout System (LCS) of the GPS Next-Generation Operational Control System, known as GPS OCX.

The company tested 74 OCX segment requirements at its Aurora, Colorado, factory in a cyber-hardened environment, verifying that the LCS is on its way to meeting U.S. Air Force requirements.

Next, the remaining OCX segment requirements will be qualified in a retest period.

Those requiring external interfaces will be qualified onsite at Schreiver Air Force Base before delivery of the overall OCX LCS in 2017.

Clocks fail on 5 Galileo satellites: All have backup

The European Space Agency (ESA) issued a statement on Jan. 19 addressing Galileo clock failures. GPS World Innovation editor Richard Langley provided the following summary of the satellites and clocks involved, based on information received to date.

  • 5 satellites affected: 3 IOVs, 2 FOCs
  • Total of 10 failures; 1 fixed; so 9 continuing failures
  • 5 masers on IOV satellites
  • 2 masers on FOC satellites but 1 of these fixed
  • 3 rubidiums on FOC satellites
  • No satellite currently has fewer than 2 working clocks

An ESA press release provides additional details on the failures and actions being taken to address the problem. Read more here.