With the launch on 28 December 2005 of GIOVE-A, the first Galileo satellite, Galileo, a joint programme of the European Space Agency and the European Commission, became a reality in space.
GIOVE-A allowed Europe to secure the frequencies allocated to Galileo by the International Telecommunications Union and test the new, critical technologies needed for this future, civil satellite navigation system. The main component of the mission is, of course, the satellite built by Surrey Satellite Systems Ltd in the United Kingdom. However, the validation mission would not have been possible without several developments on the ground and, in particular, the equipment that allows reception of the signals transmitted by the satellite.
The Belgian company Septentrio Satellite Navigation NV provided three receivers for the GIOVE-A mission. These receivers supported calibration and validation of the signals transmitted by the satellite from its orbit, particularly on the historical date of 12 January 2006, which marked the first transmission of Galileo signals in space.
This pioneering task also demonstrated that Galileo and GPS do not interfere with one another and can be used together. This compatibility and interoperability anticipates the time when Galileo will be a constellation of 30 satellites, broadcasting its signals along with the 24 to 28 GPS satellites.
Once Galileo is operational, the user receivers will calculate their position with great accuracy due to the large number of satellites in the two systems. But before that, many different checks are necessary that only these prototype receivers can perform. Currently one receiver is in Guildford (United Kingdom), at the GIOVE-A satellite control centre, and the two others are in the ESA laboratories at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, The Netherlands. They are performing a thorough analysis of the signals transmitted by the satellite on the different frequencies allocated to Galileo.
Created in 2000, Septentrio was born out of the university community of Leuven near Brussels and its history runs parallel with that of satellite navigation in Europe. Septentrio was selected during tenders launched by ESA for various phases of its navigation programme and made the first receivers for EGNOS, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System that ‘filters’ GPS signals, providing an improved GPS-like signal and helping Europe to prepare for Galileo. With 50 employees, today this Belgian SME designs chips and software for receivers exclusively intended for professional applications, among them the first combined Galileo/GPS receiver.
The three receivers Septentrio provided for GIOVE-A were part of an early output from one of the two parallel Test User Segment contracts ESA awarded for the In Orbit Validation of the system. Septentrio is also providing 13 additional receivers, which are currently deployed in 13 sensor stations around the world as part of the GIOVE mission activity, and which will offer important feedback for the complex Galileo Ground Segment.
Additionally, Septentrio will deliver the Public Regulated Service (PRS) and Non-PRS Test Receivers as part of the Test User Segment, which will form the basis for system verification of the In Orbit Validation phase with four satellites to confirm the validity of the overall system design. ESA also has contracts with other receiver providers such as the Thales Avionique (France), the Alcatel Alenia Space (Italy) and the NovAtel (Canada).
Although launching satellites is of paramount importance, it is meaningless without the associated developments on the ground. The receivers are therefore closely linked to the success of Galileo, for which ESA is currently establishing the foundations.
Dominique Detain | alfa
Supercomputing the emergence of material behavior
18.05.2018 | University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center
Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss
18.05.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology