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NEWSBRIEFS – Galileo update
Ukraine might take part in European Space Program
During public hearings of a draft national space program for 2007 – 2011, Deputy Director General of the National Space Agency of Ukraine Eduard Kuznetsov said that some projects of the program might be included into the first European space program, which is presently being drafted, “Cabinet’s press office” reported. Among the projects he first of all mentioned creating a space Ionosat system for comprehensive study of seismic-ionospheric and solar- Earth connections and their impact on technological and biological processes on the Earth. The program is supposed to start in 2010. Among the program’s likely participants were named Poland, Turkey and China. http://en.for-ua.com
China’s satellite navigation plans threaten Galileo
China’s decision to expand the functionality of its satellite navigation network could undermine the economics of Europe’s nascent Galileo system, according to sources close to the project. Until now, experts believed that China’s “Beidou” navigation system – a 35- satellite constellation – would only be used by its armed forces. This explained China’s decision to invest €200 million in Europe’s €2.5 billion Galileo programme.
But things appear to have changed in Beijing. On 2 November, the country’s official news agency Xinhua reported that Beidou would, from 2008, begin providing an “open” level of service, with 10-metre accuracy, in addition to its “authorised”, encrypted military service. Precisely how open this 10-metre service will be, remains unclear, but the Xinhua report implied that it would be available free to all Chinese citizens and to other countries
whose governments strike a deal to use the signal in satellite navigation devices. If this is true, it could be a big problem for the Galileo consortium, which had hoped to recoup part of its €2.5 billion investment in Galileo by selling receivers and commercial signal subscriptions in China.
It is not clear whether there are sufficient frequencies for Beidou to be used globally. But new agreements may be needed to ensure receivers are compatible with all three navigation standards: Galileo, the US-run Global Positioning System, and Beidou. Officially, however, the European Commission (EC) says it does not expect China’s plan to impact on Galileo.
Work starts on ground control for Galileo space system
Work to build the new Galileo satellitenavigation system advanced with the official start of construction of the ground control centre in southern Germany. Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee said at a foundation-stone ceremony in Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich that Germany would thus become the centre of the European satellite navigation industry. http://science.monstersandcritics.com
European Galileo joins GPS on one chip
A European Union project team is working to combine Europe’s Galileo and the US’s GPS satellite positioning technology onto one chip along with a 3G UMTS receiver for use in a mobile phone. “An integrated chip like this reduces the components a manufacturer needs to use, and reduces power consumption,” said Günter Heinrichs, co-ordinator of the Gawain project. “It will make it very attractive for handset manufacturers to include navigation as standard with their mobile phones.” www.electronicsweekly.com