Livermore, CA — For the third year in a row, the Christmas holidays were chosen as the launch date for Russia to deliver a special present to Topcon Positioning System (TPS) customers using precise positioning technology and instruments.
Three of the new GLONASS navigation, long-life satellites were launched early Christmas morning, bringing to 20 the number of Russia navigation satellites in orbit. The new satellites have an expected lifespan of seven years.
The recent launch mirrored the 2004 and 2005 launches, in which a total of six satellites were also put in orbit.
For years Topcon’s GPS+ was the only dual-constellation, satellite- based precision positioning system that allowed its users the option to access the GPS and GLONASS satellite constellations. Now, with its new line of G3 receivers, TPS customers will also be able to receive signals from the Galileo system, now being tested by the European Union. The use of multi-constellation signals virtually eliminates job site downtime due to weak or obstructed satellite reception.
The most recent launch, when combined with GPS, makes 44 total satellites available to Topcon users. The most recent launch makes the second of a series of satellite placements the Russian Federal Space Agency has scheduled in the next several years to bring the GLONASS system to full deployment.
The recently launched satellites are the new M-series, which have a longer orbit-life – seven to eight years – compared to older models. The modernized satellites are also broadcasting a new code which is similar to the modernized GPS satellite’s L2C code. Only Topcon receivers are able to track this new signal. Future launches will include GLONASS satellites designed to remain in orbit for up to 10 years.
For the last several years Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken a personal interest in the GLONASS program and has called for the system to be fully deployed (24 satellites) by the end of 2007.
Topcon’s GPS+ system allows "access to more than 50 percent additional satellites than GPS-only systems, " Ray O’Connor, TPS president and chief executive officer, said. "This is critically important, as precision operations require constant access to a minimum of five satellites. The more satellites a user has access to, the less downtime, less signal degradation, and the more work that can be completed without interruption."
Topcon’s six years of experience in designing, manufacturing and marketing multi-constellation software and receivers puts the company "in an enviable position in the marketplace," he said, "because we are the most experienced manufacturer in the industry in this critical area of precise positioning technology."
O’Connor said, "When you are talking about satellite positioning technology, there’s absolutely no reason not to use every available satellite signal. To do anything less just doesn’t make sense. With the proven performance and accuracy advantages the thousands of Topcon customers see with their systems every day, it’s clear that additional GLONASS satellites in orbit offers more signals for a better solution."
Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS) has been "very supportive of the Russian GLONASS satellite system" O’Connor said. "It has been our singular contention all along that GLONASS, coupled with the United States’ GPS navigation system (now with 24 operational satellites) already provides a multi-constellation dynamic which, with the proper technology, provides the most accurate positioning on the planet.
"With the planned addition of the Galileo constellation, the future of precise positioning just looks brighter and brighter."
About Topcon Positioning Systems: Topcon Positioning Systems, a developer and manufacturer of positioning equipment, offers the world’s leading selection of innovating precision GPS, GIS, laser, optical surveying, and machine control, products, software, and applications. Topcon Corporation is traded on Tokyo Stock Exchange (7732).