Galileo Update

Galileo Update

Feb 2013 | No Comment


Galileo’s search and rescue system passes first space test

The first switch-on of a Galileo search and rescue package shows it to be working well. Its activation begins a major expansion of the space-based Cospas–Sarsat network, which brings help to air and sea vessels in distress. The second pair of Europe’s Galileo navigation satellites – launched together on 12 October last year – are the first of the constellation to host SAR search and rescue repeaters. These can pick up UHF signals from emergency beacons aboard ships and aircraft or carried by individuals, then pass them on to local authorities for rescue. Once the satellites reached their 23 222 km-altitude orbits, a rigorous test campaign began. The turn of the SAR repeater aboard the third Galileo satellite came on 17 January. “At this stage, our main objective is to check the repeater has not been damaged by launch,” explains ESA’s Galileo SAR engineer Igor Stojkovic. Cospas–Sarsat system“The first day was a matter of turning the repeater on and checking its temperature and power proô€‚¿ les were as predicted. “The following day involved sending a signal to the repeater using the UHF antenna at ESA’s Redu Centre in Belgium, then picking up the reply from our L-band antenna.”

Road and rail looking ahead to new satellite opportunities

Satellite-driven technology will make travel faster, smoother and safer in the coming years, and Europe’s Galileo programme is speeding the changes, experts agreed at the European Space Solutions conference couple of months back. Michel Bosco, the Deputy Head of EU Satellite Navigation Applications and International Affairs Unit at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry, underlined the variety of satellite services being developed for road users. Route planning is obvious, but other services include eCall, which sends an automatic message to emergency services when there is an accident, giving the precise location; road charging; tachographs; and the tracking of shipments, especially hazardous materials. Bosco noted that Europe currently only has a 20% of the worldwide GNSS application sector, and he warned that there was a risk of missing a big opportunity. Andy Sage, Director of technology consultancy Helios, outlined how GNSS had helped fuel the growth of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) with a wide selection of applications including roadside assistance, vehicle maintenance management, broadband and infotainment, and traffic management. Fiammetta Diani, Market Development Ofô€‚¿ cer at the European GNSS Agency (GSA), said GNSS has also potential applications in meet management and low density line signalling, which could offer significant cost savings.

Curtin University combines GPS with Galileo satellite

Researchers from Curtin University have discovered how to integrate GPS technology with the emerging multifrequency Galileo. The research, funded by the Australian Space Research Program, is the first to be completed in Australia. Professor Peter Teunissen and Dr Dennis Odijk, from the Western Australian School of Mines (WASM), combined real-time data collected using high-grade multi-GNSS receivers from different manufacturers for baseline studies in Australia and the United States.

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