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12. July 2018, admin - Miscellaneous, Galileo


In June 2018, ESA ran an internal competition for its young graduate and national trainees to develop an app capable of making positioning fixes using only Galileo satellites. As part of this competition an augmented reality app was created, with which users can ‘see’ the satellites their smartphone is using as they hold it up to the sky.

The positioning calculations and assistance data functions for the app were developed by Paolo Crosta of ESA’s Radio Navigation Systems and Technology section, with telecom engineer Tim Watterton contributing the main structure of the app, together with how it looks and its UI.

Tim Watterton explaines, that the satellites are overlaid in real time on the camera view in their predicted positions in the sky, based on ‘ephemeris’ information, assistance data that describes the current satellite orbits with high precision. “When a signal is being received, the satellite is shown in green, overlaying the predicted position. The satellite shown in red is one of the two placed in elongated orbits, but these satellites are expected to be used soon in the operational constellation. Satellites coloured orange are transmitting, but the signal is not detected, which may be due to obstruction by terrain or buildings.”

Panning the phone around to position the crosshair over a green coloured satellite adds additional information about it, such as its signal status, ‘pseudo-range’ (the uncorrected distance the signal has travelled to reach the receiver) plus the satellite’s manufacturer, launch date among other items.

The reference app is currently being tested with the goal to make it publicly available on the Android Play Store. The competitors Apps are also being tested and will also be published after the competition has ended.

Currently, similar apps are available for smartphones like the GPS Satellites Viewer for tracking GPS satellite, but to the current status they don't offer an augmented reality function.

At present, there are 22 Galileo satellites in orbit, with four more satellites set for launch on 25 July.

Source: ESA


01. January 2017, admin - Galileo


Following a complex tendering process that began in January 2015, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) awarded the Galileo Service Operator (GSOp) contract, with a value of up to €1.5 billion (US$1.56 billion), to Spaceopal at a special event in Brussels on December 15, 2016.

The ceremony was featured in an event organized on the occasion of the European Commission's declaration of Galileo Initial Services.

The 10-year contract covers the operation and maintenance of the Galileo satellite system and its committed performance level: in particular, the operations and control of the system, the logistics and maintenance of the systems, and infrastructureas well as the user support services. Spaceopal is a joint venture between Telespazio and the German Space Agency (DLR).

"With its emphasis on service performance, this contract will shape the future of Galileo," said GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides. "We look forward to building a strong partnership with Spaceopal as Galileo moves towards full operational capability under the responsibility of the GSA from January 2017."

Specifically, under GSA oversight, the contract awarded to Spaceopal includes the following responsibilities:

  • Secure operations of Galileo from two mission control centers (GCC), located in Germany and Italy, and the European GNSS Service Center (GSC) in Spain for user support services
  • management of the Galileo Data Distribution Network (GDDN)
  • integrated logistics support and maintenance for the entire space and ground infrastructure;
  • monitoring ofthe system performance;
  • support the completion of the Galileo infrastructure and associated launches. To ensure a balance between ongoing deployment needs and the priority of the service provision, the contract includes clear and tangible performance indicators (KPIs).

Spaceopal has served as the contractor for Galileo operations since 2010 under the Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) Operations Framework Contract.

"Spaceopal is committed to continuing to support the deployment and completion of the Galileo system," says Spaceopal CEOGiuseppe Lenzo. "We are proud that the GSA has selected us to further contribute by bringing the Galileo signal in space to users and providing best-in-class satellite navigation services."

The contract was signed by des Dorides, Spaceopal's CEO Giuseppe Lenzo, and Simon Plum, the company's COO, at an official ceremony held today in Brussels.

Copyright © 2016 Gibbons Media & Research LLC, all rights reserved.

Source: Inside GNSS




01. January 2017, admin - Galileo

On December 15, 2016 the European Commission (EC), owner of Europe's GNSS system, Galileo, formally announced the start of Galileo Initial Services, the first step towards full operational capability. Further launches will continue to build the satellite constellation, which will gradually improve the system performance and availability worldwide.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has overseen the design and deployment of Galileo on behalf of the Commission, with system operations and service provision due to be entrusted to the European Global Navigation Satellite System Agency next year.

"Galileo offering initial services is a major achievement for Europe and a first delivery of our recent Space Strategy," said European Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (GROWTH). "This is the result of a concerted effort to design and build the most accurate satellite navigation system in the world. It demonstrates the technological excellence of Europe, its know-how, and its commitment to delivering space-based services and applications. No single European country could have done it alone."

Paul Verhoef, ESA's Director of the Galileo Program and Navigation-related Activities, added, "Today's announcement marks the transition from a test system to one that is operational. We are proud to be a partner in the Galileo program. Still, much work remains to be done. The entire constellation needs to be deployed, the ground infrastructure needs to be completed and the overall system needs to be tested and verified. In addition, together with the Commission we have started work on the second generation, and this is likely to be a long but rewarding adventure."

Initial Services

Galileo is now providing three service types, the availability of which will continue to be improved. "Service definition documents" have been completed for all three.

The Open Service (OS) is a free mass-market service for users with enabled chipsets in, for instance, smartphones and car navigation systems. Fully interoperable with GPS, combined coverage will deliver more accurate and reliable positioning for users.

Galileo's Public Regulated Service (PRS) is an encrypted, robust service for government-authorised users such as civil protection, fire brigades and the police.

The Search and Rescue (SAR) service is Europe's contribution to the long-running Cospas-Sarsat international emergency beacon location. With Galileo and other GNSS-based SAR services, the time between someone locating a distress beacon when lost at sea or in the wilderness will be reduced from up to three hours to just 10 minutes, with its location determined to within 5 kilometers, rather than the previous 10 kilometers.

After five years of launches, 18 Galileo satellites are now in orbit, but only 11 will be available for the Open Service and PRS and 12 for SAR services. The most recent four, launched last month, are undergoing testing ahead of joining the constellation next spring. Two satellites are in incorrect orbits due to a 2014 launch anomaly, although the ESA engineers subsequently regained control of the spacecraft and were able to improve the orbits. As a result, one of those satellites can be used for the SAR service. Another spacecraft is currently out of service.

With the declaration of Initial Services Galileo will deliver, in conjunction with GPS, the following capabilities free of charge:

Support to emergency operations: Today it can take hours to detect a person lost at sea or in the mountains. With the Search and Rescue Service (SAR), people placing a distress call from a Galileo-enabled beacon can now be found and rescued more quickly, since the detection time will be reduced to only 10 minutes. This service should be later improved by notifying the sender of the emergency call that he/she has been located and help is underway.

More accurate navigation for citizens: The Galileo Open Service will offer a free mass-market service for positioning, navigation and timing that can be used by Galileo-enabled chipsets in smartphones or in car navigation systems. A number of such smartphones have been on the market since autumn 2016 and they can now use the signals to provide more accurate positions.

By 2018, Galileo will also be found in every new model of vehicle sold in Europe, providing enhanced navigation services to a range of devices as well as enabling the eCall emergency response system. People using navigation devices in cities, where satellite signals can often be blocked by tall buildings, will particularly benefit from the increase in positioning accuracy provided by Galileo.

Better time synchronization for critical infrastructures: Galileo will, through its high precision clocks, enable more resilient time synchronization of banking and financial transactions, telecommunications and energy distribution networks such as smart-grids. This will help them operate more efficiently.

Secure services for public authorities: Galileo will also support public authorities such as civil protection services, humanitarian aid services, customs officers and the police through the Public Regulated Service. It will offer a particularly robust and fully encrypted service for government users during national emergencies or crisis situations, such as terrorist attacks, to ensure continuity of services.


More Yet to Come

The declaration of Galileo Initial Services means that the Galileo satellites and ground infrastructure are now operationally ready. However, because the satellite constellation not complete, stand-alone positioning using only Galileo signals will not available all the time. That's why, during the initial phase, the first Galileo signals will be used in combination with other satellite navigation systems, such as the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS).

The full Galileo constellation will consist of 24 satellites plus orbital spares, intended to prevent any interruption in service.

ESA Director general Jan Woerner noted, "For ESA, this is a very important moment in the program. We know that the performance of the system is excellent. The announcement of Initial Services is the recognition that the effort, time, and money invested by ESA and the Commission has succeeded, that the work of our engineers and other staff has paid off, that European industry can be proud of having delivered this fantastic system."

In the coming years, new satellites will be launched to enlarge the Galileo constellation, which will gradually improve Galileo availability worldwide. The constellation is expected to be complete by 2020 when Galileo will reach full operational capacity.

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) will manage Galileo Initial Services on behalf of the EC, which runs the overall Galileo program. GSA signed a services contract today with SpaceOpal to handle day-to-day operations of Galileo. The EC has handed over the responsibility for deployment of the system and technical support to operational tasks to ESA.

In a congratulatory media announcement today, NovAtel President and CEO Michael Ritter stated, "Today's declaration of the availability of the first three Galileo services - the Open Service, Public Regulated Service, and Search and Rescue Service - confirms the stalwart and persevering leadership that this trio of agencies has provided over the years of the system's development. It also validates the confidence of the program's supporters that Europe would join the world's operators of global navigation satellite systems."

NovAtel's high precision GNSS receivers, antennas, and certified ground-reference station receivers have supported Galileo signals in anticipation of the complete constellation. Moreover, NovAtel is now broadcasting Galileo Precise Point Positioning (PPP) corrections through its TerraStar correction services.

Copyright © 2016 Gibbons Media & Research LLC, all rights reserved.

Source: Inside GNSS





09. November 2016, admin - Galileo


For its ninth launch of the year, and the sixth Ariane 5 liftoff from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana during 2016, Arianespace will orbit four more satellites for the Galileo constellation. This mission is being performed on behalf of the European Commission under a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA).

For the first time, an Ariane 5 ES version will be used to orbit satellites in Europe's own satellite navigation system. At the completion of this mission, designated Flight VA233 in Arianespace's launcher family numbering system, 18 Galileo spacecraft will have been launched by Arianespace.

 Arianespace is proud to deploy its entire family of launch vehicles to address Europe's needs and guarantee its independent access to space.

The launch will be performed from Ariane Launch Complex No. 3 (ELA 3) in Kourou, French Guiana. The Launch Readiness Review (LRR) will take place on Monday, November 14, 2016 in Kourou, to authorize the start of operations for the final countdown.

Galileo, an emblematic European program

The new Galileo global satellite navigation system is an emblematic European Union program - led by its Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (GROWTH); with ESA assigned the responsibility for design and procurement.

The Galileo FOC (Full Operational Capacity) satellites are built in Europe by OHB System of Bremen, Germany as prime contractor, with all payloads supplied by SSTL (Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.), a British subsidiary of Airbus Defence and Space.

For further information, download the launch kit here.

To watch a live, high-speed online transmission of the launch (including commentary from the launch site in French and English), go to arianespace.com on November 17, 2016, starting 20 minutes before liftoff.

Text source arianespace.com




06. April 2016, admin - Galileo

On April 6th, 2016 the next two Galileo FOC* satellites (Danielè and Alizée) have arrived safe and sound at the launch site in Kourou (French Guiana).

The Launch of the next two satellites is scheduled for May 24, 2016 and will be carried out by Arianespace from the Guyana Space Center in French Guyana. It will orbit two FOC (Full Operational Capability) satellites, and precedes Arianespace's already scheduled launch of four Galileo satellites on an Ariane 5 ES during the fourth quarter of 2016.

With these two launches, six new Galileo satellites will be deployed in 2016, as in 2015, bringing the total number in the Galileo-constellation to 18 by the end of the year. Each of the Galileo satellites is named after one of the children who won the painting competition organized by the European Commission in 2011.


* The FOC (full operational capability) phase of the Galileo program is being funded and executed by the European Union. The European Commission and the European Space Agency ESA have signed a contract under which ESA acts as the development and sourcing agency on behalf of the Commission. The view expressed here does not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Union and/or ESA. Galileo is a registered trademark owned by the EU and ESA and registered under OHIM application number 002742237.


Text source OHB SE Website




11. November 2015, admin - Galileo


FOC satellites 'Galileo 8 and 7' with SV-ID 22 and 26 (FOC satellites) are now transmitting ephemeris on navigation data.

Today an IFEN NTR receiver has calculated a position fix with SV-ID 22 first time in combination with three virtual Galileo satellites from GATE on E1 as well as on E5a and E5b. Position accuracy was about 1 meter for E5a and about 4 meters for E1 and E5b.

For this test GATE is now synchronized to Galileo System Time from SV-ID 22. Navigation data from SV-ID 22 is currently flagged unhealthy.

FOC Satellites SV-ID 22 and 26 have been launched on March 27th, 2015.


09. July 2015, admin - Galileo

For several times in the past seven months, the Universität der Bundeswehr München came to Berchtesgaden, to utilize the Galileo Test and Development Environment GATE.

This time tests of ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) systems stood in the foreground. They are used for communication between different road users. In this way, vehicle data can be exchanged, which is essential for driver assistance systems or automated driving.

For the application, it is very important to check the reliability of the user position determined by satellite navigation systems. To this end, radar signals were initially emitted of a moving car and "sampled" the roadsides. Trees or houses are recognized such as moving objects, e. g. pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles. If for example a pedestrian crosses the street, the radar system detects the situation in time. Current driver assistance systems have the option of initiate braking or evasive maneuvers automatically. At the same time the information of the brake or taken evasive action is transmitted to vehicles in the vicinity, so that they are warned. Also cyclists can be detected by radar. With ITS it is possible to send a warning to vehicles behind.

One test scenario conducted in GATE, was the one vehicle driving after another vehicle at a constant distance. The guiding vehicle recorded the pure satellite position and the following vehicle additionally checked the determined position with radar signals. The Fraunhofer Institute for Embedded Systems and Communication Technology (ESK) from Munich supported the Test series with their test vehicle. To control the GATE signals through the whole trial period the measurement vehicle of GATE was located at GATE central point.

The test responsible person in charge of Universität der Bundeswehr München recorded on the second day for about 2 hours Galileo signals in addition to GPS and GLONASS signals in the GATE office. To test the newly developed ARAIM (Advanced Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring) algorithms for detection of faulty satellite data, the position of a GATE "satellite" was temporarily deflected artificially. Afterwards the same series of tests has been dynamically recorded over one hour, driving through the GATE test bed of Berchtesgaden, in the IFEN measurement vehicle.

According to first statements both test days have been very successful.

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