Galileo Update


Jan 2016 | No Comment

Soyuz ST-B booster sends two more Galileo satellites to orbit

European Launch Service Provider Arianespace launched two more Galileo navigational satellites (known as “Andriana” and “Liene”) on Dec 17, 2015. The firm used a Soyuz ST-B booster to lift the FM08 and FM09 satellites off the launch pad located at the Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 6:51 a.m. EST (11:51 GMT).

Galileo location service to start next year – ESA

ESA director general Jan Woerner announced that the Galileo location service would be able to start next year under its new configuration. Another fourteen satellites are currently in construction or will be so soon in the clean rooms of German company OHB-System, which is producing 22 satellites for the 30-satellite constellation.

U.S., Norwegian Paths to Encrypted Galileo Service Open in 2016

The successful Dec. 17 launch of two Galileo positioning, navigation and timing satellites makes it all but certain that the Galileo network will offer initial services by late 2016, including the encrypted, government-only Public Regulated Service (PRS), to which the United States and Norway have requested access.

Both governments have submitted formal requests for PRS access to the European Commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation European Union. The U.S. and Norwegian requests have remained dead letters at the commission not because they are controversial, but because sorting out access to PRS even among the 28 EU nations has been complicated.

EU officials have been grappling with what are called Common Minimum Standards that set rules on PRS access for national government agencies and PRS hardware manufacturers, with a view of ensuring the encrypted signal is not compromised.

The diversity of EU nations’ security precautions is wide enough that the commission, with the approval of EU governments, has reserved the right to conduct inspections of agencies and companies working with PRS to verify compliance. Each nation using PRS will create a specialized agency responsible for its use.

The sensitivity of the subject is high enough that the EU has decided not to publish the Common Minimum Standards supporting documents — including technical details on required security measures and PRS distribution — in the EU’s Official Journal. The standards were nonetheless approved in November.

The next step on the road to granting U.S. and Norwegian access is for the EU’s highest decision-making body, the European Council, to give the commission marching orders for opening negotiations with U.S. and Norwegian authorities.

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