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NEWSBRIEFS – Galileo update

Nov 2006 | Comments Off on NEWSBRIEFS – Galileo update

Galileo – the European Programme for Global Navigation Services for civil purposes is an initiative led by European Union. We provide regular updates to our readers on the Galileo programme.
EU’s transport chief eyes military use for satellite system

The European Union should consider employing its Galileo satellite navigation program for military uses in addition to the civilian purposes for which it was designed, the EU’s transport chief said. “Galileo was supposed to be a civilian system only but I wonder whether we shouldn’t question that,” Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot told a conference in Luxembourg. “Using it for military purposes, for defence purposes … would be very interesting in terms of paying for the infrastructure and the investment,” he said of the multi-billioneuro project.

Management of the European Satellite radio-navigation programme

European Parliament adopted a nonbinding report by the Chairman of the Industry, Research and Energy Committee – Giles CHICHESTER (EPP-ED, UK) on the management of the European Satellite radio-navigation programme. The report was adopted with 555 votes in favour, 27 against and 27 abstentions. The purpose of the proposal is to amend Council Regulation 1321/2004/EC to enable the European GNSS Supervisory Authority (responsible for the European Satellite Navigation programmes – Galileo and EGNOS) to complete the development phase of the Galileo programme after the Galileo Joint Undertaking is wound up. The Galileo Joint Undertaking should be wound up on 31 December 2006 and its activities transferred to the Supervisory Authority.

Tracking station key for EU satellites

A Southland-based tracking station may become a key player in Europe’s plans to build a global navigation satellite system, Galileo. The European Space Agency (ESA) plan to have the station operational next year, in time for the much-anticipated launch of the Jules Verne – Europe’s first automated supply vehicle. Based on an Awarua farm site, between Invercargill and Bluff, the station will record a segment of the rocket’s movements as it carries supplies to the international space station, up to 11 times over eight years. The tracking station will record the movements of the supply vessel during the critical period when a second series of rockets propel it into orbit following its launch from French Guiana, in South America.

GIOVE-A laser ranging campaign successful

Fourteen laser ranging stations participated in a campaign to track ESA’s GIOVE-A satellite during the spring and summer of 2006, providing invaluable data for the characterisation of the satellite’s on-board clock. The campaign was coordinated by the International Laser Ranging Service (ILRS) and the GIOVE Processing Centre at ESA-ESTEC.

GIOVE-A, developed by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (UK), was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome on 28 December 2005 and placed into a medium Earth orbit with an altitude of 23 260 km. Carrying a payload consisting of rubidium clocks, signal generation units and a phase array of individual L-band antenna elements, GIOVE-A started broadcasting Galileo signals on 12 January, securing the frequencies allocated by the International Telecommunications Union for the Galileo system.


India may quit Galileo

India’s participation in the Galileo project, a satellite navigation system being developed by EU and European Space Agency, expected to rival the
United States’ GPS , has run into the hard ground realities of security concerns. India fears that sharing of sensitive data may not be adequately firewalled from individuals and other nations participating in the enterprise.

India had signed up to the 30- satellite landmark space navigation project in September last year. The details of the Indian participation were to be completed during the just-concluded summit meeting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with EU leaders in Helsinki.

But the expected progress could not be made in Helsinki, sources said, adding that the Indian concerns related to the access that the satellite system will have to all manner of geographical and tactical locations in the country. Further, there were questions over how widely would the very precise data the system would provide of facilities, and even individual phone and vehicle users, be accessed. These issues, said sources, had not been resolved at Helsinki and despite the official statement before the PM’s visit, that details of Indian participation in the Galileo project were close to completion, there was a lack of progress when Indian and EU officials discussed the issues in Finland.

Recently, the European Commission suggested, in a policy shift that sets it on a collision course with UK and the US, that Galileo might be opened up for military use.

While Indian military and civilian facilities are open to satellite surveillance from US and other military-use satellites, the problem with Galileo project is uncertainty over users of the data. The Times of India, October 16, 2006-11-12


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