|Galileo Update|| |
Europe’s Galileo system has passed its latest milestone, transmitting its very fi rst test navigation signal back to Earth. According European Space Agency (ESA), the different Galileo signals are being activated and tested one by one. Soon after the payload power amplifi ers were switched on and ‘outgassed’– warmed up to release vapours that might otherwise interfere with operations – the fi rst test signal was captured at Redu. The test signal was transmitted in the ‘E1’ band, which will be used for Galileo’s Open Service once the system begins initial operations in 2014. The Open Service will be freely available to users all over the world. This signal is particularly important because it shares the ‘L1’ band of the US GPS navigation satellites.
On 10 December, seven weeks after the start of the fi rst two Galileo navigation satellites, scientists at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences received the fi rst signals from one of the two satellites (GSAT101). Four days later, the signals could be successfully recorded on a second frequency with a worldwide network of 18 ground stations of ESA. By analysing these fi rst observational data, the GFZ scientists were able to determine the orbit of the satellites, which are fl ying at an altitude of 23222 km, for the fi rst time to a few decimetres. Besides the calculations of the highly accurate atomic clocks on board, this is a signifi cant factor for the overall performance of the system and the satellites. The independent examination of the satellite orbit parameters undertaken at the GFZ is used for the precise determination of the orbit. This is ultimately of great importance to the end user, e.g. motorists, since the orbit is the basis for the highly accurate location determination on the ground. Additionally, the possible linkage with the U.S. GPS would improve this positioning, because more satellites are available – an advantage for example in densely developed cities.
GMV has announced the tracking of both data and pilot channels of Galileo fi rst satellite signal with its own line of GNSS receiver products. It has developed its own GNSS software receiver products: SRX-10 on GPS, which has been optimized for the urban environment, NUSAR for GPS L1 and Galileo E1 and its own L1 front end. This experience has been applied, even previously to the development of the receivers, to many studies on receiver performances under very diverse signal conditions and designs, namely by processing the GIOVE satellites signal.
The European Commission proposes to earmark 7.0 billion euros to guarantee the completion of the EU satellite navigation infrastructure and to ensure the exploitation of the systems until 2020, such as the operations of the space and terrestrial infrastructures, the necessary replenishment/replacement activities, certifi cation procedures, and notably the provision of services. The proposal also recalls that the Union remains the owner of the systems.