Galileo Update

Galileo update

Sep 2013 | No Comment

OHB expects to know about Galileo delivery dates by late September

Satellite and rocket-component builder OHB AG on Aug. 14 said it should know by late September whether the tests of its first Galileo satellites are proceeding well enough to permit their delivery later this year.

In a conference call with financial analysts, Bremen, Germany-based OHB said Galileo’s European government owners want to take the necessary time to validate the performance of the first OHB-built satellites so that production of the 20 remaining spacecraft can be done quickly.

The 20-nation European Space Agency (ESA) and the commission of the 28-nation European Union are the technical managers and owners, respectively, of the Galileo positioning, navigation and timing constellation. The first of the OHB-built satellites entered testing at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, Netherlands, in May. The second was delivered to ESTEC August 9.

The OHB satellites bear a strong resemblance to the four Galileo inorbit validation spacecraft now in medium Earth orbit. But the onboard power of the OHB spacecraft is greater than that of the validation satellites. Galileo managers made the modification in part to enable Galileo’s encrypted Public Regulated Service signal to overcome a signal frequency overlap issue with China’s Beidou constellation of navigation satellites.

The signal overlap means Europe would be unable to jam China’s signals in a given region in a time of conflict without jamming the Galileo signals as well. It would not affect the functioning of the two systems otherwise. OHB Chief Executive Marco R. Fuchs said during the conference call that the first two satellites could be delivered to ESA “in a matter of weeks” if the test campaigns at ESTEC go smoothly.

European Commission invites GNSS patents

The European Commission (EC) has invited firms to submit tenders for a four-year contract to monitor patent applications and grants both at the European Patent Office and at patent offices around the globe. The contractor’s objectives, according to Call for tenders No ENTR/269/PP/ENT/ADM/13/7037, are to measure “the innovative and technological performance of EU GNSS Industry by setting up and performing the monitoring of its patenting activity vis-à-vis the world competitors” and identify “the consequent economic trends.”

Once the data is compiled the contractor is to compare patent activity in the EU to that generated by companies, academic/research bodies and individuals in other countries and issue quarterly reports on how European organizations are faring in comparison. Bids for the contract are due by September 3. The study is set to begin in the third quarter of 2013.

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