Monthly Archives: April 2016

Two Galileos are “fit” for their Arianespace Soyuz launch in May

Soyuz_VS15_fit_checkThe next two spacecraft to join Europe’s Galileo global satellite navigation system have made their initial contact with launcher hardware at the Spaceport in French Guiana, continuing the preparations for their liftoff on an Arianespace Soyuz vehicle in May.

During activity in the Spaceport’s S1A clean room facility, both spacecraft completed the initial “fit check” process, in which they were installed on the dispenser system that will deploy them in orbit during the May 24 flight.

The two FOC (Full Operational Capability) Galileo satellites were then removed, enabling their continued preparation and fueling. Prime contractor OHB System in Bremen, Germany produces the Galileo FOC spacecraft. Read more…

GNSS for autonomous vehicles

Speaking at a session completely dedicated to autonomous vehicles, GSA Head of Market Development Gian-Gherardo Calini said that accurate and reliable positioning information is a clear enabler for autonomous vehicles. “With its dual frequencies, better reliability and ability to cope with multi-path characteristics in urban environments, Galileo could be a big differentiator in this potentially huge market,” he said.

However, implementing the technologies is challenging. For example, according to Centro Ricerche Fiat Programme Manager Luisa Andreone, the higher you moved up the automation levels in vehicles, the more accurate the positioning requirements are. Other key elements are signal availability, integrity, affordability and regulations. Read more…

PRS, diamond service

One area where Galileo is likely to have maximum impact is the Public Regulated Service (PRS). The PRS will provide a robust and encrypted positioning and timing capability restricted to governmental authorised users. Speaking at the event, DG Growth Head of Unit, Galileo Directorate Philippe Jean described the service and the access control mechanisms that will minimise interfering threats and so offer continuity of service in times of crisis. “The PRS signal structure has better resilience to jamming and interference,” he said. Jean also said that the Member States and the Commission are considering how to allow secure access to PRS by third-party countries.

“Active contributions from all the different stakeholders involved in PRS is required to ensure delivery of service to authorised users,” added GSA PRS Officer Marco Detratti. “Competent PRS authorities (CPAs) are being established at the national level, but to build trust, the system and equipment must deliver a truly robust service that grants unlimited and uninterrupted access worldwide.” Read more…

GNSS timing service

The timing services supplied by GNSS are an increasingly important, but often unrecognised, part of today’s modern infrastructure. This is because the vital role of space-based timing is only exposed when it fails. To shed some light on just how important these services are, this year the Munich Satellite Summit’s legal session focused on the timing aspects of GNSS.

“Many sophisticated timing applications rely on GNSS signals,” said BHO legal partner Dr Oliver Heinrich. “However, they tend to be taken for granted and are only noticed when things go wrong, such as what happened on 26 January when a software upload to GPS satellites induced a 13 millisecond misalignment – a small difference that had a big global impact. Read more…

Galileo 13 & 14 reached Europe’s spaceport

Galileo satellites 13 and 14 arriving at Europe's SpaceportThe latest pair of navigation satellites has reached Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, beginning a new Galileo launch campaign, which will culminate in a launch on 24 May.

The 13th and 14th Galileo satellites left ESA’s technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, on Monday, safely cocooned within protective air-conditioned containers.

They were taken by road to Luxembourg Airport, where they were loaded aboard a Boeing 747 cargo jet for a dawn takeoff the next morning.

The satellites touched down at Cayenne – Félix Eboué Airport in French Guiana at 11:15 on Tuesday local time. Read more…

Investing in space is good business

Written by Bogdan A. Zdrojewski.

“Over the past 50 years, Europe has had many successes on the space market. The most recent example is the Rosetta satellite mission, which was tasked with entering into a comet’s orbit and releasing a module, which landed on its surface.

 Bogdan A. ZdrojewskiMember states are aware of the potential of space technologies, but it’s important to reiterate the impact these could have on economic development improving overall quality of life, as well as the assurance of widely understood security.

In the report I worked on in Parliament’s security and defence subcommittee, I drew special attention to this last element, which is often omitted.

The EU adopted its space strategy in 2007, and thanks to the treaty on the functioning of the European Union, it has competences in the creation and support of space policy. Read more…

EU must ensure greater use of Galileo

Written by Carlo des Dorides.

Galileo_EUGNSS“Europe’s investment in space delivers vitally important benefits in many areas, including science, defence and in economic growth. Innovation spills over into many sectors, creating jobs and opportunities for Europeans and European business. This opportunity is once again underlined as Galileo moves toward the delivery of Initial Services.

Despite this recognised potential, we struggle to adequately support innovation. If Europe wants to remain a global leader in space, it must become more competitive today. We cannot afford to rest on our past successes.

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) actively funds innovation through EU programmes such as Horizon 2020. These initiatives that aim to keep space accessible and safe in the long run, have already made a difference. Read more…

Ground-based Galileo satellite joins post-launch dress rehearsal

Galileo_Full_Operational_Capability_FOC_satelliteThe navigation satellite set to become the 16th in the Galileo constellation has been taken through a Europe-wide rehearsal for its launch and early operations in space.

Sitting in the cleanroom environment of ESA’s ESTEC technology centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, the satellite was last week linked to a trio of sites across the continent: the Galileo control centres in Fucino, Italy and Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, as well as ESA’s ESOC operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

“These System Compatibility Test Campaigns (STSCs) occur on a regular basis,” explained Liviu Stefanov, lead Flight Operations Director for the next Galileo launch in May. “Last December saw a campaign using Read more…