Monthly Archives: September 2017

First Ariane 6 contract: to orbit four Galileo satellites

Ariane 6Four of the latest set of Galileo navigation satellites will be launched on Ariane 6 rockets – ESA’s first contract to use Europe’s new vehicle.

The launches are scheduled between the end of 2020 and mid-2021, using two Ariane 62 rockets – the configuration of Europe’s next-generation launch vehicle that is best suited to haul the two 750 kg navigation satellites into their orbits at 23 222 km altitude.

Under development, Ariane 6 is Europe’s newest launcher, designed to extend guaranteed access to space for Europe at a competitive price. It will operate in two configurations, depending on customer needs: Ariane 62 is fitted with two strap-on boosters while Ariane 64 has four.

“Ariane 6 is not only in full development, but it will soon be put to use,” notes Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA’s Director of Space Transportation. “This contract is a key step in the upcoming ramp-up phase of Ariane 6.”

The Galileos have so far either been launched in pairs by Soyuz from French Guiana or in fours by Ariane 5.

A new Ariane 5 flight is scheduled for the end of this year (12th December), to add four more satellites to the 18-strong constellation already in orbit. This month saw the arrival of the first elements of the rocket in French Guiana, transported aboard the MN Colibri roll-on/roll-off ship. Read more…

Contract signed with OHB, SSTL for eight more Galileo satellites

Signing the contract. ESA’s Director of the Galileo Programme, Paul Verhoef (right) shakes hands with CEO of OHB, Marco FuchsEurope’s Galileo navigation constellation will gain an additional eight satellites, bringing it to completion, thanks to a contract signed at the Paris Air and Space Show.

The contract to build and test another eight Galileo satellites was awarded to a consortium led by prime contractor OHB, with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd overseeing their navigation platforms.

This is the third such satellite signing: the first four In Orbit Validation satellites were built by a consortium led by Airbus Defence and Space, while production of the next 22 Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellites was led by OHB. Read more…

Time is Everything With GNSS

Time is Everything With GNSSThe recent news of clock failures on both the European Union’s Galileo and IRNSS satellites (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System) shows that launching and commissioning new satellite navigation constellations is not a simple business. The news, however, does make it worthwhile asking whether clock failures could have any implications for GNSS users — especially professional users such as in the surveying or GIS industries.

The short answer is that satellite clock failures should not directly impact any users of the Galileo or IRNSS satellites. In the event of all clocks (primary and backup) failing on a single GNSS satellite, the satellite becomes unusable. Read more…

Mass GPS Spoofing Attack in Black Sea?

GPS Spoofing Attack in Black SeaReports of satellite navigation problems in the Black Sea suggest that Russia may be testing a new system for spoofing GPS. This could be the first hint of a new form of electronic warfare available to everyone from rogue nation states to petty criminals.

On 22 June, the US Maritime Administration filed a seemingly bland incident report. The master of a ship off the Russian port of Novorossiysk had discovered his GPS put him in the wrong spot – more than 32 kilometres inland, at Gelendzhik Airport. Read more…

Important milestones towards the new European Smart Tachograph

smart tachographNew Smart Tachograph security specifications have been prepared by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) for better enforcement of driving and resting times of heavy vehicle drivers to maximise road safety.

From 2019, all heavy vehicles must be equipped with a new Smart Tachograph, an improved version of the already existing digital tachograph which monitors and records the driving and resting times of professional drivers.

Smart Tachographs include a connection to the global navigation satellite system (“GNSS”) facility, a remote early detection communication facility, and an interface with intelligent transport systems, which will make it easier for authorities to track and identify potential offenders and detect fraud. Read more…

New Glonass satellites will be transmitting encoded signal

GLONASS satellites will be transmitting encoded signalNew GLONASS satellites will be transmitting a new encoded signal, the deputy CEO of Russia’s Roscosmos corporation, Mikhail Khailov, told a satellite navigation forum.

“At the moment the manufacturer keeps seven space satellites GLONASS-M in stock. Six will be transmitting the encoded navigation signal in L3,” he said.

Currently one GLONASS-M satellite and two new generation GLONASS-K satellites transmit the CDMA signal.

Russia to create highly elliptical orbit segment for Glonass

Russia to create highly elliptical orbit segment for GlonassThe work to create a highly elliptical orbit segment for Russia’s Glonass satellite navigation system will begin in 2019, CEO of Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems Company Nikolai Testoyedov said on Monday.

“The same concept envisages adjusting the Glonass target program and introducing a highly elliptical navigation segment of six satellites. This work will most likely start from 2019, if the concept is accepted and we are almost sure of that,” the chief executive was quoted as saying in the company’s corporate publication, Siberian Satellite. Read more…

The synergies between GNSS and Earth Observation

Synergies between GNSS and Earth Observation provide real-time information about the state of the Earth’s troposphereSpeaking at a dedicated session entitled “Applications: Earth Sciences and Geo-Information”, part of EUREF’s annual symposium, representatives of the mapping and surveying sector discussed the various synergies between GNSS and Earth Observation and their use for providing real-time information about the state of the Earth’s troposphere.

EUREF, the International Association of Geodesy (IAG) Reference Frame Sub-Commission for Europe, is dedicated to the definition, realisation and maintenance of the European Geodetic Reference Systems. Included in this mission is the development and maintenance of the EUREF GNSS Permanent Network (EPN), which is a ground-based GNSS infrastructure for scientific and practical applications in positioning and navigation. EUREF provides standards and guidelines to European National Mapping Authorities in order to harmonise the definition and adoption of national coordinate reference systems. Read more…

Interview with O. Montenbruck and P. Teunissen, editors of Handbook on GNSS

O. Montenbruck and P. TeunissenOliver Montenbruck (left picture), Head of the GNSS Technology and Navigation Group at DLR’s Space Operations Center and Peter Teunissen have edited an exhaustive reference work, the Springer Handbook of Global Navigation Satellite Systems, which brings together international experts to provide a state-of-the-art description of all facets of Global Navigation Satellite Systems.

Besides the obvious things, like navigation software in our cars and smart phones, which service or tools we use in our daily life, would not be possible without GNSS and would be deeply missed?
Peter Teunissen: GNSS radio occultation measurements provide important input for near-real-time weather forecast.
Oliver Montenbruck: Complex power grids and even stock exchanges would not work well without GNSS timing. Read more…

Two more satellites join Galileo service provision

Commissioning of two new Galileo satellitesThe European GNSS Agency (GSA), along with the European GNSS Service Centre (GSC), announce the commissioning of two additional satellites, bringing the total number of satellites available for the Galileo service provision to 18.

The GSA announced beginning of August the completion of in-orbit testing (IOT) of two new Galileo satellites, GSAT0212-SV ID 03- and GSAT0213-SV ID 04 -. Having passed all initial tests, the two satellites are now officially commissioned for operational use and are usable for the Galileo service provision (see NAGU 2017029 and NAGU 2017033). Read more…