EU Member States have begun their independent testing of the most accurate and secure signal broadcast by the four Galileo navigation satellites in orbit.Transmitted on two frequency bands with enhanced protection, the Public Regulated Service (PRS) offers a highly accurate positioning and timing service, with access strictly restricted to authorised users.
Europe’s new age of satellite navigation has passed a historic milestone – the very first determination of a ground location using the four Galileo satellites currently in orbit together with their ground facilities. This fundamental step confirms the Galileo system works as planned.
Europe’s third Galileo satellite has transmitted its first test navigation signals back to Earth. The two Galileo satellites launched last October have reached their final orbital position and are in the midst of testing.
A week after the dual liftoff from Kourou, French Guiana, the two latest Galileo satellites completed the critical Launch and Early Orbit Phase on 19/20 October.
The FM3 and FM4 satellites were handed over from the joint ESA/CNES Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) team in Toulouse, France, to the Galileo Control Centre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, from where Spaceopal will manage the operations of the Galileo constellation.
A helicopter recently flew over a very special Alpine valley to gather data on how Europe’s two satellite navigation systems – EGNOS and Galileo – will work together in future.
The helicopter flew a variety of manoeuvres, from fast loops to mid-air hovering, to see how satnav signals were received in practice. The promising results are now being analysed.
The third and fourth satellites of Europe’s Galileo global navigation satellite system were lofted into orbit on 12 October from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. They join the first pair of satellites launched a year ago to complete the validation phase of the Galileo programme.
The Soyuz ST-B launcher, operated by Arianespace, lifted off at 18:15 GMT (20:15 CEST) from the Guiana Space Centre.
Europe’s own satellite navigation system will come a step nearer on Friday, with the second launch of twin Galileo satellites. This new video explains the range of services the full Galileo system will make possible.
Four is the minimum number of satellites needed to achieve a navigational fix on the ground – with one satellite each to measure latitude, longitude, altitude and perform a timing check.
The two Galileo satellites and their upper stage have been enclosed within their protective fairing, and moved to join the Soyuz rocket on the launch pad. The halves of the fairing were sealed together around the satellites, their supporting dispenser and Fregat-MT upper stage on Friday, within the Upper Composite Integration Stand of building S3B of Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Yesterday, the Upper Composite was moved to the launch site, for vertical mating to its three-stage Soyuz ST-B rocket.