GNSS Satellite (GIOVE-A)


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Thursday, 25 December 2008

Successfull GLONASS Launch

The GLONASS launch planned for today, December 25, 2008, was successfull! Launches around Christmas are by now a tradition for GLONASS. Since several years the Christmas time is used to make "triplet" launches. This launch was the second triplet launch this year and will bring the number of active GLONASS satelites to 20!

A very nice Christmas present from Russia to the GNSS world! These satellites further enhance the GLONASS constellation and bring it yet again a step closer to completion. More interestingly, the combination of GPS and GLONASS is also profiting from a ever increasing GLONASS constellation.

According to the orbiter-forum the spacecrafts have been given the designations Melchior-2447, Gaspar-2448 and Baltasar-2449.

Last but not least I wish all my readers that they will find their direction(s) in 2009!

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Wednesday, 17 December 2008

GLONASS Launch Schedule Update

The GLONASS schedule promised two triplet launches this year. The first one took place on September 25. The second is planned for December 25.

All three satellites of the September launch were succesfully taken into serve, in fact in record time! Unfortunately some older GLONASS satellites were decomissioned in the September/October timeframe. So the current GLONASS constellation consists out of 16 active and healthy GLONASS satellites.

The launch in December should bring to total number of satellites up to 19. With the oldest satellites being from 2004. This great number of satellites together with the ever growing size of the GNSS station tracking network makes GLONASS a very interesting addition, and even independent alternative, to GPS. Within the International GNSS Service there are two Analysis Centres that do a full fledged GNSS analysis, i.e., a processing of the combination of GPS and GLONASS observations to estimate the satellite orbits but also Earth Orientation parameters, station coordinates, and atmospheric influences. These two Analysis Centres should start seeing a significant benefit from the combination of the two systems (but more on that in a next post).

The next big step for GLONASS will be the new platform, the GLONASS-K satellites. That will increase the lifetime of the satellites and, more importantly, should move GLONASS from the FDMA technique to the CDMA technique used by GPS and Galileo. That will make all three systems interoperable and will keep the end-user equipment simple and therefore cheap!

Last but not least: Merry Christmas!

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