Ligado's SkyTerra-1 satellite was launched in 2010 and entered service in 2011. Credit: Ligado Networks

LightSquared is seeking FCC approval for a plan it argues will allow its broadband service to co-exist with GPS.

The company filed with the FCC last week “coexistence agreements” it has reached with three GPS receiver manufacturers, which set limits on power levels LightSquared can broadcast on frequencies near those used by GPS.

LightSquared, which exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, is also requesting the Department of Transportation cancel an ongoing study of GPS interference issues, arguing that the agreements it has reached with receiver manufacturers render the study moot. [Inside GNSS]

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SpaceX successfully launched the Jason-3 satellite Sunday, but narrowly missed landing the first stage. The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off on schedule at 1:42 p.m. Eastern from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and placed the Jason-3 satellite into its proper orbit. Jason-3, a joint project of U.S. and European agencies, is the latest in a series of satellites that monitor ocean conditions to support weather forecasting and climate monitoring. SpaceX attempted to land the rocket’s first stage on a ship about 300 kilometers downrange from the launch pad, but one of the rocket’s landing legs gave way as the rocket touched down on the center of the pad. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that ice buildup on the leg, from fog at the launch site prior to launch, may have kept the leg from locking into place as planned. [SpaceNews]

A spacewalk outside the ISS ended early Friday after a water leak in one astronaut’s spacesuit. NASA astronaut Tim Kopra said he detected a small amount of water in his suit helmet about four hours into the six-hour EVA, and mission controllers immediately ended the spacewalk. Kopra and British astronaut Tim Peake made it back inside the station without incident. The two still completed the primary goal of the spacewalk, the replacement of a failed voltage regulator in the station’s electrical power system, as well as several other tasks. [CBS]

China launched a communications satellite for Belarus Friday. The Long March 3B rocket lifted off at 11:57 a.m. Eastern Friday and placed the Belintersat-1 satellite into geostationary transfer orbit. The spacecraft, built by China for Belarus, carries a communications payload of C- and Ku-band transponders developed by Thales Alenia Space. The spacecraft will provide communications services from 51.5 degrees east in GEO. []

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The countdown is underway for the launch of an Indian navigation satellite this week. The countdown started early Monday for the PSLV launch of the IRNSS-1E satellite, scheduled for 11:01 p.m. Eastern Tuesday night. The satellite is the fifth in a planned constellation of seven satellites that will provide navigation services for India and the surrounding region. [IANS]

NASA issued a statement Friday about the agency’s harassment policies to organizations that receive NASA grants. In the letter, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden reminded organizations of federal laws that prohibit racial or sexual discrimination. “Science is for everyone and any behavior that demeans or discourages people from fully participating is unacceptable,” Bolden wrote. The letter came after a series of reports about sexual harassment scandals involving astronomers at universities that receive NASA grants. [NASA]


Russia’s next crewed spacecraft will be called “Federation.” RSC Energia, which is developing the spacecraft to replace the Soyuz, announced the winning name Friday after a competition. The other two finalists were “Gagarin” and “Vector.” Energia said individual Federation spacecraft would be named after each of the 85 “constituent entities” that comprise the Russian Federation. [TASS]

A bill in the Washington state legislature would create a center to support the state’s growing space industry. The bill would direct the state’s Department of Commerce to select an agency or organization to run the center, which would help coordinate the industry and support research and education efforts. A public hearing about the bill is scheduled for Tuesday. [GeekWire]

The long-time head of the Mojave Air and Space Port in California has retired. Stu Witt’s last day as CEO of the spaceport was Friday, 14 years after he took the job. During his time, Mojave grew from an underutilized airport best known as being a storage site for jetliners to a bustling hub of commercial space and other aerospace activity. Witt’s successor is Karina Drees, who has been deputy general manager of the spaceport for the last three years. [KGET-TV Bakersfield, Calif.]

A former astronaut says he plans to continue working at NASA despite being diagnosed with cancer.  Piers Sellers, acting director of the Earth sciences division at NASA Goddard and a veteran of three shuttle flights, writes in a New York Times op-ed that he has been diagnosed with Stage 4, or the most severe, form of pancreatic cancer. He writes that he plans to continue working given the importance of the research he leads studying climate change. “I concluded that all I really wanted to do was spend more time with the people I know and love, and get back to my office as quickly as possible.” [New York Times]

The Week Ahead


  • Honolulu: PTC ’16, the annual conference of the Pacific Telecommunications Council, features a number of sessions on satellite communications.


  • Sriharikota, India: A PSLV is scheduled to launch the IRNSS-1E navigation satellite for the Indian space agency ISRO at 11:01 p.m. Eastern.



Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...