News & Press
Successful GPS launch
Wed, 1 Jul 2020 10:28:53 GMT

SpaceX has launched the third GPS III satellite from Cape Canaveral.



The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 1610 local (2010 UTC) on 30 June from Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 40, as temperatures exceeded 30£C. It was the first GPS launch undertaken by SpaceX.

The US Space Force had delayed the launch of GPS III SV03 from April due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it was delayed for a further 15 minutes on the day due to strong high-altitude winds.
Dutch Safety Board Issues Recommendation to Large Containerships
Mon, 29 Jun 2020 11:53:59 GMT
The Dutch Safety Board has urged large containerships to avoid navigating through a shipping
channel through an environmentally sensitive, shallow sea off the coast of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark in heavy northwesterly storms because of the heightened risk of them
losing their cargo.

The recommendation is part of a report into an incident that occurred 18 months ago, when the MSC Zoe boxship lost 342 containers during stormy conditions. The Board concluded that £due to the value of the Wadden area, it is undesirable that these container ships choose the...
Maritime & Coastguard Agency Post Implementation Review (P.I.R)
Mon, 29 Jun 2020 10:36:52 GMT

The RIN recently received details of a voluntary questionnaire from the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) which you may wish to consider completing (please note the deadline is the 6th July). Please see below the messaging form the MCA with associated documents. When you click on the links they start to download automatically and will be in your download folder.



I am writing to you to request for your help with a Post Implementation Review (P.I.R) the Maritime & Coastguard Agency are completing in order to fulfil its statutory duties.

As...

China completes BeiDou constellation
Tue, 23 Jun 2020 09:30:04 GMT

The last 3rd-generation BDS-3 satellite required to complete full worldwide cover was launched on 23 June.



Launch took place from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre at 0943 local time (0143 UTC), having been delayed from 16 June due to problems with the Long March-3B launch rocket.

This 55th BDS satellite will use its own propulsion to obtain a geosynchronous equatorial orbit (GEO) at ~22,000 miles (~36,000 km).

The final constellation comprises 27...

The summer solstice
Fri, 19 Jun 2020 16:25:30 GMT

The Sun reaches its highest northerly latitude on 20 June.




The Sun will be at its highest latitude of ~23.4£N at 2143 UTC (2243 BST) on 20 June - the summer solstice. This is the start of astronomical summer although, in meteorological terms, summer is defined as the months of June, July and August.

The Sun will cross the celestial equator to re-enter the southern hemisphere on 22 September - the autumnal equinox and end of astronomical summer.  It will start...
Mars mission quantum tech gravity sensor to provide backup for Marine Navigation Satellite Systems
Wed, 17 Jun 2020 16:28:03 GMT

The UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing has awarded funding for research to improve the precision of maritime navigation. The project aims to develop the MEMS component of a hybrid cold atoms MEMS gravity gradiometer, and is led by Dr Simon Calcutt from Oxford£s Department of Physics and Professor Tom Pike from Imperial College London.

The sensor instrument in this project is based on the MEMS seismometers developed by Professor Pike for the NASA InSight mission, which is currently operating on the surface of Mars.

Academics from the Hub are already working...

Final BeiDou satellite launch delayed
Tue, 16 Jun 2020 10:01:19 GMT

Launch of the BDS-3 satellite to complete BeiDou worldwide cover was due at 0211 UTC on 16 June.


But the Long March-3B carrier rocket was found to have a technical problem during pre-launch tests, according to the China Satellite Navigation Office.

Hence the launch has been postponed, with the new launch time yet to be determined.

Details from beidou.gov.cn

Autonomously Navigated Vessels Help Scientists Estimate Fish Abundance While Protecting Human Health
Mon, 8 Jun 2020 13:07:32 GMT

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries plans to use autonomous surface vehicles to help fill in the gap resulting from the cancellation of FY20 ship-based surveys due to the COVID-19 pandemic to collect some critically needed data to support management of the nation£s largest commercial fishery for Alaska pollock.


NOAA has a broader strategy, released in February, to expand the use of emerging science and technologies that includes unmanned systems.
Three saildrones, which are unmanned wind-powered surface vehicles, are (at time of writing)...

Summer is upon us
Sat, 30 May 2020 09:35:07 GMT

In meteorological terms, 1 June is the beginning of Summer in the northern hemisphere.



Meteorologists define northern Summer as the months of June, July and August; but many consider that Summer starts at the Summer Solstice - this year at 2143 UTC (~GMT) on 20 June, when the Sun reaches its most northerly latitude of 23£ 26.1£.

The Sun will leave the northern hemisphere at the Autumnal Equinox - 1430 UTC on 22 September, when it...
Successful test of remote navigation using manned Tug across Tokyo Bay
Fri, 29 May 2020 10:21:13 GMT

Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) and three of its group companies have successfully tested the remote navigation of a tugboat in Tokyo Bay as a part of the Japanese government£s Sea Trial Project on Remote Control Navigation.

The tugboat was equipped with a system that was operated remotely from an operation center in Hyogo, around 400 kilometers away. The vessel was maneuvered approximately 12 kilometers in Tokyo Bay.

NYK has said that it and its group companies will work to overcome ship-to-shore communication issues that were revealed during this experiment, will further...

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Geospatial Systems £ 3x 4-year PhD Studentships
Wed, 27 May 2020 11:28:39 GMT

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Geospatial Systems £ 3x 4-year PhD Studentships
Closing date: Tuesday 30th June 2020. On-line interviews will be held during July 2020


University of Nottingham and Newcastle University, supported by Ordnance Survey, invites high-quality applications from UK and EU nationals for three fully funded 4-year (1+3) PhDs in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Geospatial Systems for September 2020 entry.


The CDT will equip students with advanced knowledge and skills in geospatial data science...

Automatic Identification System (AIS) - Accurate Broadcasts Don't Happen Automatically
Mon, 18 May 2020 14:33:31 GMT

The Office of Investigations & Analysis (CG-INV) has released Marine Safety Alert 04-20 titled, "Automatic Identification System (AIS) - Accurate Broadcasts Don't Happen Automatically".

The alert describes a recent collision on the Mississippi River, which it calls 'an important reminder that accurate AIS data entry and display is essential to safe navigation as one of the many important tools used in providing vessel operators with a clear picture of potential upcoming vessel passing situations, especially on waterways with bends, bridges, or other visual obstructions.'

 

The alert in full can be read here.

75th Anniversary of first Aries polar flight
Sat, 9 May 2020 21:33:44 GMT

On 10 May 1945 - 2 days after VE Day - the World's first flight to both Geographic and Magnetic North Poles departed UK.



The Lancaster 'Aries' belonged to the fleet of aircraft at the Empire Air Navigation School (EANS) at RAF Shawbury, the centre of air navigation expertise and the home of the Specialist Navigation (SpecN) Course. The aircraft had undergone extensive modification in preparation for Arctic flying; the nose and tail gun turrets were replaced...
Over the Horizon Drone delivery to Ships aids Navigation and Medical Aid
Wed, 6 May 2020 13:03:18 GMT

BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) Drone deliveries of medicines and important small items are now proven as feasible, minimising navigational risks to vessels and aiding separation to protect personnel.

F-drones, a Singapore-based startup, has completed the first commercial BVLOS drone delivery in Singapore on 19 April 2020. The drone delivered 2 kg of vitamins over 2.7 km in 7 minutes, to a ship managed by Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS).

Read more here and here.

Watch:

Eta Aquariid meteor shower
Mon, 4 May 2020 18:22:37 GMT

The meteor shower will peak between midnight and dawn on 5-6 May 2020.

    

Although peaking at that time, some may be seen between 24 April and 20 May. They can peak at 35-40 per hour.
    
Although better seen from the southern hemisphere, they can be seen low in the eastern sky from northerly latitudes in early pre-dawn hours.

The Eta Aquariids make up a moderately active meteor shower associated with the Comet Halley. The name comes from the constellation from which they radiate. This is Aquarius - more specifically, one of the stars from the constellation, Eta Aquarii.

More details available from Royal Museums Greenwich
GPS celebrates 25 years of operation
Wed, 29 Apr 2020 16:30:44 GMT

GPS became fully operational on 27 April 1995.


 
On this date in 1995, the system reached full operational capability (FOC), having passed through initial stages (IOC) since 1993.
 
The USAF Vice Chief of Staff declared in 1995: £This is a major milestone, GPS has become integral to our war-fighters and is rapidly becoming a true utility in the civilian community.£
 
On this 25th anniversary, the US Space Command Commander has...
New GPS Performance Standard
Wed, 22 Apr 2020 11:21:17 GMT

The USAF released the 5th Edition of the GPS Standard Positioning System (SPS) Performance Standard (PS) on 16 April.



This first update to the SPS PS since 2008 now includes pre-Initial Operating Capability (IOC) performance standards for new civil GPS signals L2C and L5, in addition to L1 C/A. It specifies the levels of SPS performance in terms of broadcast signal parameters and constellation design.

USAF reminds us that, since GPS initial operational...
Lyrids meteor shower
Tue, 21 Apr 2020 15:51:18 GMT

The night of 21-22 April sees the peak of the meteor shower.



The Lyrid meteor shower takes place annually between 16-25 April as Earth passes through the dust trail left, some hundreds of years ago, by comet £Thatcher£.

At its peak, 10-20 meteors per hour are expected to be visible, and since there is a new Moon, it should be a good time to see the meteors.

The shower gets its name because it appears to radiate from an area near the...
Tanker Grounding Linked to ECDIS
Mon, 20 Apr 2020 18:01:57 GMT

Germany's Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation (BSU) has published its investigation report on the grounding of the LNG tanker Pazifik off Indonesia on July 9, 2018.The report illustrates the dangers of using ECDIS, now fitted to all sizeable ocean going ships, in unfamiliar waters.

Read more at https://infomarine.net

Source report at https://www.bsu-bund.de

Lieutenant Commander Alan Peacock MSc RN FRIN
Mon, 20 Apr 2020 09:21:45 GMT

Lieutenant Commander Alan Peacock MSc RN FRIN, who has died aged 71 after a lengthy battle with mesothelioma, was a deep specialist in Navigation £ otherwise known as a £Dagger N£ £ who became renowned when he was Staff Officer (Navigation) to Flag Officer Sea Training, or FOST, for the strict rigour with which he conducted his assessments of ships£ bridge teams and navigation departments. Careers...

Last GPS IIA satellite retired
Sat, 18 Apr 2020 11:16:09 GMT

The last of the original second-generation GPS IIA satellites has been retired after an incredible time in orbit.



Satellite Vehicle Number 34 (SVN 34) was launched on 26 October 1993 and basically has been part of the constellation ever since; it did actually have a break for a couple of years in 2015, but was back in slot PRN 18 in early 2018. It was replaced as PRN 18 on 1 April 2020 by the second GPS III satellite, SVN 75.

So SVN 34, with a design...
Virus delays GPS launch
Sat, 11 Apr 2020 21:16:46 GMT

The launch of the third GPS III has been delayed to minimise  COVID-19 exposure for the launch crew and early-orbit operators.



The GPS III SV03 (GPS III-3) launch from Cape Canaveral was scheduled for late April but is now planned for 30 June at the earliest, pending a re-evaluation in May.

The US Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) explains: £The current GPS constellation is healthy, allowing for a strategic pause to ensure the health and...
New AIS VDES Satellite Sea Ice And Ship Safety Data Network To Launch In 2022
Mon, 6 Apr 2020 13:06:52 GMT
A newly established consortium is going to develop a network for low Earth orbit satellites delivering ice chart data to ships at sea. The new system will use the new AIS VDES radio data exchange system, to increase safety at sea.

A new research project called MARIOT (Maritime IoT) is going to develop a low Earth orbit satellite network based on the new VDES (VHF Data Exchange System) technology. The consortium behind the project is headed by the Danish satellite operator Sternula. The satcom developers GateHouse, Space Inventor, and Satlab as well as Aalborg University, and...
2nd GPS III satellite operational
Sat, 4 Apr 2020 11:51:08 GMT

The USAF 2nd Space Operations Squadron designated the satellite operational on 1 April.



The Sqn had accepted control of the satellite, Vehicle Number 75 (SVN75), on 27 March. It was set usable at 1945Z on 1 April as PRN18, occupying Slot 6 in Plane D.

GPS III satellites have a planned life of 15 years and are designed to be forward- and backward-compatible, allowing them to fully adapt to the future whilst remaining fully usable with previous generations...
Notice from MCA - Shipping Forecast Updates
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 13:07:47 GMT

Notice from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)

The Shipping Forecast is part of the fabric of Radio 4 and an important public service. However, we are dealing with an unprecedented emergency which requires some very difficult choices. The complicated staffing and technical challenges we£re facing mean that Radio 4 is amending its£ broadcast schedules and staffing. This will result in some changes which will impact the Shipping Forecast but will enable to us to deliver the best possible service in the circumstances.

From Monday March 30th, Radio 4...

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