Galileo Update

NEWSBRIEFS – Galileo Update

Aug 2009 | Comments Off on NEWSBRIEFS – Galileo Update


Telespazio takes control of Galileo Ground Facility

Telespazio has taken over management of a Galileo satellite constellation control centre. The company will begin cabling the entire structure as well as installing and integrating required systems and equipment for the satellite constellation and mission. Telespazio said its work will begin on the areas dedicated to security, navigation signal generation systems, orbital management and atomic clocks. The control centre is expected to be fully operational and will be inaugurated this fall.

GIOVE-A operations extended for another year

GIOVE-A, the first test satellite for Europe’s Galileo navigation system, is to remain in service for a further 12 months. The satellite built by SSTL for ESA and already in orbit for 41 months – 14 months beyond its original mission design life – will continue to provide critical data to all of the ground users experimenting with Galileo navigation signals. The
ESA recently approved an extension of the GIOVE-A mission.

Europeans fi ght over the Galileo Satellite Network

The politicians want one thing, economists another, and the ESA something completely different. The agency’s Director of Navigation, Rene Oosterlinck, said that it would be nothing more than good economics to launch all 28 satellites whose contracts would be awarded this year from the Kourou Space Centre, in French Guyana, South America, aboard Russian-built Soyuz delivery systems. However, others show that Arianespace’s Ariane 5 heavy-lifting rockets are more than capable of handling the delivery of up to four Galileo satellites at the same time. Right now, such a rocket can only take three satellites to orbit, but with $50 million worth of modifi cations, it could easily accommodate four. Oosterlinck explained he favoured a plan where the Ariane 5 would be kept in reserve, in case the Soyuz became unavailable. But critics argue that using Russian rockets would only go to show that Europe is not as autonomous as it would like to think, and would fail to prove the idea that started the project.

EU satnav project ill-conceived

The EU’s much delayed project Galileo has been ill-prepared and badly managed, the European Court of Auditors charged.“The programme lacked a strong strategic sponsor and supervisor: the (European) Commission did not proactively direct the programme, leaving it without a helmsman,” the auditors’ court opined after carrying out an audit of the ill-starred project. As well as the commission — the EU’s executive arm — the 27 member states came into criticism for promoting their own industries first and foremost. “Owing to their different programme expectations, member states intervened in the interest of their national industries and held up decisions. The compromises made led to implementation problems, delays and, in the end, to cost overruns,” the official auditors declared. The audit examined the factors in the failure of the concession process and for delays and cost overruns of technological development. It concluded that the original public-private partnership plan was “inadequately prepared and conceived” not to mention “unrealistic”. AFP

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