Thursday, December 30, 2010

Intelsat Re-establishes Contact with Rogue WAAS GEO Satellite

Intelsat announced that on 23 December 2010, the power from the Galaxy 15 battery completely drained during its loss of earth lock and the Baseband Equipment (BBE) command unit reset, as it was designed to do. Shortly thereafter Galaxy 15 began accepting commands and Intelsat engineers began receiving telemetry in their Satellite Operations center.

According to the announcement, they have placed Galaxy 15 in safe mode and reported that it no longer poses any threat of satellite interference to either neighboring satellites or customer services. After completing initial diagnostic tests, we will load updated commanding software to the satellite. They expect to relocate the satellite to an Intelsat orbital location where engineers at their Satellite Operations Control Center will initiate extensive in-orbit testing to determine the functionality of every aspect of the spacecraft.

Galaxy 15 contained one of two WAAS GEO transponders leased by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to transmit GPS integrity and correction data to aviation and ground users.

On April 5, 2010, Intelsat reported it had lost communications with Galaxy 15. Shortly thereafter, the FAA announced that Galaxy 15 (PRN 135) would discontinue transmitting WAAS GPS integrity and correction information within a few weeks. Surprisingly, the uncontrolled Galaxy 15 ended up staying on track well enough to continue broadcasting WAAS integrity and correction data until 16 December, when broadcasts ceased. During that period it had drifted from 133°W longitude to 98°W longitude.

On 29 December, the FAA confirmed that they are considering bringing Galaxy 15 back into WAAS service, but that it depends on how long it takes to move it back to its intended orbit location. The FAA said It also depends on the results of the testing efforts in pinpointing the initial failure.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

China successfully launched BEIDOU Compass system

China successfully launched its seventh orbiter into space which would be a part of independent satellite navigation and positioning network to rival the United State's Global Position System (GPS).

gps satellites

It was the seventh orbiter that China has launched for its independent satellite navigation and positioning network, also known as Beidou, or Compass system, state run Xinhua newsagency reported.

The arbiter was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern Sichuan Province early today. It is the 136th flight for the country's Long March series of rockets.

The new satellite, launched on a Long March-3A carrier rocket, joins six other satellites already in orbit to form a network, which will eventually consist of more than 30 satellites.

China started building its own satellite navigation system to end its dependence upon the US GPS system in 2000, when it sent two orbiters as a double-satellite experimental positioning system.

Beidou, as the system is called, is designed to provide navigation, time and short message services in the Asia and Pacific region before 2012 and will be capable of providing global navigation services by 2020.

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How to select a handheld GPS

For a last-minute gift idea, especially if your special someone likes the outdoors or travel, consider a handheld GPS unit, the super-compass for hikers, backpackers, bicyclists, anglers and travelers.

What - GPS stands for global positioning system. A GPS unit communicates with a community of satellites to calibrate your location and destination.

How much -Generally $50 to $600 at most sports and outdoor stores. Department stores sell them, too. Beginners should consider visiting a specialty outdoors store where the staff is more likely to be capable of matching you with an appropriate device. The most basic GPS may already be in your mobile phone, but apps can cost extra, while a dedicated GPS doesn't require a subscription for basic uses.

Range of capability - Lower price models tell you where you are and point to your destination. The more detailed GPS, the higher the price. Your needs - If you're a Saturday morning hiker who just wants to avoid getting lost on a winding trail, any GPS will do.

What to buy - Until you know your stuff, stick to the brand names. Garmin is the best reviewed with the largest variety of models. If you like tough hikes into the outback and spend time on canoes, kayaks and bushwhacking, take it up a couple of notches to systems over $200 that include maps and triangulation of satellite signals.

Bells and whistles - Scrolling comes in handy when following a long trek that won't fit on your screen. Consider a GPS that has topographical maps for wild countries. Then you have high-definition screens, space-age compasses, multi-channel satellite tracking, trip planning, removable storage, bright screens for use at night, digital cameras and so forth.

GPS games - A global game has emerged called geocaching. Geocaching is like a global treasure hunt. Hikers, hiking clubs and others leave memorabilia in transparent Tupperware-type containers. Because GPS doesn't yet pinpoint locations, following coordinates gets you to within a few yards or feet of your goal. Find the box, leave a note, or a trinket; take something out only if you leave something, enter your visit into a log book and leave the container for others.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thuraya on Heathrow and Gatwick

Thuraya provides cost-effective mobile satellite services in more than 140 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia and the Middle East. Services provided by Thuraya include broadband, maritime, mobile voice that support dual GSM and satellite mode, rural telephony, fleet management and other advanced applications that enable people and businesses everywhere under its coverage to enjoy constant access to communications and information.

Thuraya enhances sectors such as oil and gas, mining, agriculture, NGOs and maritime services through its cutting edge technology.

European and international travelers passing through Heathrow and Gatwick airports will be able to buy the latest satellite handheld phones now available at retail stores in both busy airports. This follows signing a commercial partnership between the UAE -based mobile satellite operator ThurayaThuraya and Europe's leading airport retailer Dixons Travel.

The availability of ThurayaThuraya's innovative handhelds which include the world's toughest satellite phone, the XT, in the two airports will facilitate access to reliable mobile satellite services especially for travelers going to places and areas where terrestrial telecom services are unavailable or inadequate.

The handhelds are designed to meet the needs of vertical market sectors such as oil and gas, mining, agriculture, maritime, NGOs, government, large corporates as well as individual users and frequent travelers.

"ThurayaThuraya's border-to-border coverage across its footprint of 140 countries ensures uninterrupted connectivity even in the most remote of areas where there may be limited terrestrial networks. Furthermore, through our large list of roaming partners customers also have the additional convenience of using their GSM numbers on ThurayaThuraya's advanced network and handheld phones which meet the requirements of sophisticated users by providing voice, SMS, data and GPS services," said Mr. Muiz A. Saad, Executive Manager Marketing & Sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

ThurayaThuraya has over 310 agreements in 145 countries which include 128 roaming agreements in Europe in 60 countries.

Mr. Saad added that partnering with Dixons Travel ensures that ThurayaThuraya's market leading handhelds are now displayed for millions of travelers passing through Heathrow and Gatwick airports; both busy transit hubs for European and international travelers.

In his part, Mr. Richard Procter, European Business Manager at Dixons Travel airport stores commented: "We expect rapid uptake of the phones as they are now easily available in seven of our leading Dixons Travel airport stores. The handhelds are ergonomic in design and are supported with professional menus and applications making them both attractive to our customers and reliable to use.

ThurayaThuraya has pioneered three high-quality handhelds which include the SO-2510 and the SG-2520 also known the world's smartest satellite handheld. The latest addition to satellite handhelds is ThurayaThuraya XT which is IP54/IK034 certified making it dust, splash water and shock proof making it the world's toughest satellite handheld. It also has the fastest data service, GPS Waypoint Navigation and reliable walk and talk capabilities due to its omni-directional and stable antenna.

Heathrow airport is the busiest airport in Europe with 67 million passengers travelling yearly. It is used by 90 airlines that travel to 170 destinations worldwide.

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