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.
The performance characterisation of the on-board clocks is significantly enhanced by the use of Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR), a high precision technique for orbit determination that is independent of the navigation signal generation. The technique is based on a global network of stations that measure the round flight time of ultra short laser pulses to satellites equipped with Laser Retro Reflectors (LRR). Laser ranging provides instantaneous range measurements of millimetre-level precision which can be used to derive accurate orbit data.
GIOVE-A is equipped with a LRR having 76 corner cubes, manufactured by IPIE of Russia, which provides a return energy 40% higher than GPS reflectors. The use of SLR data allows a more robust orbit determination, and thus a more accurate clock characterisation. In addition, certain satellite properties relevant to navigation, such as the offset between the centre of mass and the centre of the navigational phase centre, can be verified and calibrated.
The International Laser Ranging Service (ILRS) has agreed to support the GIOVE-A mission by providing SLR data during several tracking campaigns coordinated with the GIOVE Processing Centre at ESA-ESTEC.
The first of these tracking campaigns took place between 22 May and 24 July 2006, with the participation of 14 SLR stations, distributed globally. In addition to confirming the good health of the LRR on GIOVE-A after launch, the SLR data has been essential for a health check and a preliminary performance characterisation of the on-board rubidium clocks.
With GIOVE-A, ESA is validating the critical new technologies needed for the Galileo system and preparing for the next phase of In-Orbit Validation (IOV). For this next step, four satellites will be launched. On completion of IOV, the four satellites will become the initial components of the operational Galileo constellation.
Galileo is a joint initiative of the European Commission and the European Space Agency. It is the first satellite positioning and navigation system specifically designed for civilian purposes and will offer state-of-the-art services with outstanding performance and guaranteed accuracy, integrity, continuity and availability.
Dominique Detain | alfa
Climate cycles may explain how running water carved Mars' surface features
02.12.2016 | Penn State
What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?
02.12.2016 | University of Toronto
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy