Galileo Update

Galileo Update

Jan 2018 | No Comment

Ariane 5 launches four Galileo satellites in yearend Arianespace mission

Arianespace performed its eleventh and final launch of the year, sending four Galileo European navig Arianespace used an upgraded version of the Ariane 5, called “Evolution Storable” or Ariane 5 ES, modified further to support the deployment of Galileo, including enhancements for a nearly four hour long “ballistic” or nonpropulsive transport phase of the mission. Only one other Ariane 5, also an ES variant, has been used for Galileo. The rest all used Soyuz rockets to launch pairs at a time.

The European Commission has one more Ariane 5 launch of another four Galileo satellites planned for July 2018 to complete the constellation, ensuring complete availability of the European GNSS.

The four new satellites all sport refurbished atomic clocks to prevent a repeat of the malfunctions on older satellites. Paul Verhoef, the European Space Agency’s director of navigation, said investigations into the clock problems identified the causes, and additional corrective steps followed “in order to make sure that we keep the clocks alive as long as we can.”

Though Galileo is designed to bring autonomous GNSS capabilities to Europe, the constellation is most accurate when paired with the U.S. GPS. Verhoef said the combination of GPS and Galileo “will allow an accuracy of around 30 centimeters,” but declined to state the accuracy of Galileo as a standalone system.

European GNSS Agency (GSA) Galileo service program manager Rodrigo da Costa called Galileo’s standalone accuracy “theoretical” because the majority of users (smartphones and other devices) will have access to several constellations.

“It’s not mutually exclusive — multiconstellation and having a fully autonomous system,” added Christoph Kautz, deputy head of unit, Galileo and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service, EGNOS – Applications, Security, International Relations, at the European Commission. “We are following different goals. One is the strategic goal of being autonomous, and that we will achieve, and then we have also the goal to provide benefits to the user, and this we provide interoperability, for example, with GPS.”

BeiDou soon compatible with European navigation system: official

China’s domestic navigation system has been gaining international recognition and use in the past five years and will integrate with Europe’s Galileo satellites in the near-future, transport officials and developers have announced.

China is working to have BeiDou used by the International Civil Aviation Organization and other international systems, Peng Siyi, who is in charge of the Ministry of Transport’s comprehensive planning department, said at a press conference recently.

China and the US signed a joint statement on civil signal compatibility and interoperability between BeiDou and GPS in November, according to the BeiDou website.

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