System of Systems: OCX passes first qualification

May 1, 2016  - By
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OCX Passes First Qualification

Raytheon, US Air Force Complete Test Milestone

On March 4, Raytheon successfully passed the first formal qualification test milestone for the U.S. Air Force’s GPS Next Generation Operational Control System (GPS OCX). The new system offers significant improvements to the GPS on which the U.S. military and millions of civilians rely, including enhanced availability, accuracy and security.

The event was the Configuration Item Qualification Test (CIQT) milestone for the Launch and Checkout System (LCS). The system provides launch and early orbit checkout capabilities for the modernized GPS III satellites and implements 77 percent of the cybersecurity capabilities for the overall OCX program. The testing was successfully conducted in a representative operational environment with a government-provided GPS III satellite simulator.

The LCS CIQT Run-for-Record was completed more than one month ahead of the plan established in mid-2015, clearing the way for LCS to proceed toward the Factory Qualification Test, the next major qualification event. The FQT test will be at the integrated system level and will take place this summer.

GPS OCX is being developed by Raytheon under contract to the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, which is replacing the current GPS operational control system. The OCX Launch and Checkout System provides an early delivery of a large subset of the overall OCX capability, and will support the GPS III satellite launches.


Congressmen Seek Delay to NDGPS Closings

Four U.S. congressman sent a letter to the Department of Transportation, asking the DoT to delay shutting down Nationwide Differential GPS (NDGPS) sites, a proposal that was posted in the Federal Register.

The congressmen are asking for a delay until the “administration has decided upon and implemented a resilient national positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) architecture.”

“We do not dispute,” they wrote, “the administration’s determination that NDGPS is sufficiently like the Wide Area Augmentation system (WAAS) in its phenomenology and services such that it provides only an incremental benefit to the nation’s PNT architecture. However, some or all of the 62 NDGPS sites (and associated equipment) proposed for elimination could play an important role in achieving the PNT architecture America needs.

“Ceasing transmissions, decommissioning, and disposing of them before we are assured they are not useful to future systems is against our national interest and would not be the best use of government assets and funds.”

Signers were John Garamendi of California, Peter DeFazio of Oregon, Frank Lobiondo of New Jersey, and Walter B. Jones of North Carolina. Read the full text of the letter.


IRNSS Completing

At press time, India was expected to put into orbit its seventh and final navigation satellite on April 28, thus completing the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).

IRNSS-1G is expected to launch aboard a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket from India’s spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

IRNSS is designed to provide accurate position information service to users across the country and region, up to an area of 1,500 kilometers.


Jamming on the Borderline

South Korea issued a warning in late March after detecting satellite signal disruptions that appeared to be coming from North Korea. The capital city of Seoul appeared to be the target.

Officials said North Korea discharged a large amount of radio waves to jam GPS signals in the region.

“We’ve detected signs that North Korea has been sending radio waves to the capital area since a month ago to disrupt GPS signals,” a senior government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “North Korea had been sending test waves since last month, but today, they discharged the largest amount.”

The disruptions could cause mobile phones to malfunction and affect planes and ships that rely on GPS for navigation. No damage has so far been reported in the military or among civilians, officials said.

Since 2010, GPS disruptions have occurred three times in South Korea, and all have been blamed on the North.

Southern Counter. On April 7, the U.S. State Department confirmed the jamming in a public communique, stating the the jamming was causing signal disruptions to airplanes, ships, and buoys in the area “surrounding Gyeonggi and Gangwon provinces out to about 100 nautical miles.” On April 8, the South Korean government said it would “beef up its system to protect GPS signals” but did not explain how.

South Korea is developing an eLoran system, which would be far more difficult to jam than GPS.


A Long March-3A carrier rocket carrying the 22nd BeiDou satellite lifts off March 30.

A Long March-3A carrier rocket carrying the 22nd BeiDou satellite lifts off March 30.

22 BeiDou

China launched the 22nd BeiDou satellite into orbit on March 29. BeiDou-22 (or BeiDou-2 I6) was launched at 20:11 UTC (4:11 local time) by a Long March-3A rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

China launched the 21st BeiDou satellite on Feb. 1, the second in a series of BeiDou launches scheduled for 2016. The BeiDou constellation is planned to be completed in 2020.

The new satellite, the sixth BeiDou-2 IGSO, will be used to replenish the current operating regional system.

The satellite, after entering its designed work orbit and finishing in-orbit testing, will join others already in orbit and improve the stability of the system, preparing for BDS to offer global coverage.


After landing in French Guiana, the 13th and 14th Galileo satellites, still within their canisters, were unloaded to be taken by road to the Guiana Space Centre. (Photo: ESA)

After landing in French Guiana, the 13th and 14th Galileo satellites, still within their canisters, were unloaded to be taken by road to the Guiana Space Centre. (Photo: ESA)

Next Pair Prepped for Galileo

The latest pair of navigation satellites has reached Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). This starts a new Galileo launch campaign that will culminate in a May 24 launch of the 13th and 14th satellites in the constellation.

A second launch is planned for this fall, with four satellites carried aloft on a customized Ariane 5 for the first time, bringing the count to 18 Galileo satellites in orbit by the end of the year.

The pair of satellites left ESA’s technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, on April 4, cocooned within protective air-conditioned containers. They were then driven to Luxembourg Airport, where they were loaded aboard a Boeing 747 cargo jet for a dawn takeoff the following morning.

The satellites touched down at Cayenne — Félix Eboué Airport in French Guiana at 11:15 a.m. local time on Tuesday. Still within their canisters, they were driven to the Guiana Space Centre and unboxed that evening within the cleanroom environment of the centre’s S1A payload preparation building. A fit check is scheduled next, to ensure the satellites can be attached to the dispenser.


esnc16ESNC 2016

The largest international competition for the commercial use of satellite navigation once again seeks outstanding ideas and business models, with prizes worth a total of €1 million in more than 25 categories.

The deadline for submissions to the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) is June 30. The official website provides all relevant information on prizes, partners, and terms of participation. The ESNC is geared toward individuals and teams from companies, research facilities and universities around the world.

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