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3 décembre 2014 3 03 /12 /décembre /2014 17:50
Galileo Satellite Recovered and Transmitting Navigation Signals


Dec 03, 2014

(Source: European Space Agency; issued Dec 03, 2014)


Europe’s fifth Galileo satellite, one of two delivered into a wrong orbit by VS09 Soyuz-Fregat launcher in August, has transmitted its first navigation signal in space on Saturday 29 November 2014. It has reached its new target orbit and its navigation payload has been successfully switched on.

A detailed test campaign is under way now the satellite has reached a more suitable orbit for navigation purposes.



The fifth and sixth Galileo satellites, launched together on 22 August, ended up in an elongated orbit travelling up to 25 900 km above Earth and back down to 13 713 km.

A total of 11 manoeuvres were performed across 17 days, gradually nudging the fifth satellite upwards at the lowest point of its orbit.

As a result, it has risen more than 3500 km and its elliptical orbit has become more circular.

 “The manoeuvres were all normal, with excellent performance both in terms of thrust and direction,” explained Daniel Navarro-Reyes, ESA Galileo mission analyst.

 “The final orbit is as we targeted and is a tribute to the great professionalism of all the teams involved.”

The commands were issued from the Galileo Control Centre by Space Opal, the Galileo operator, at Oberpfaffenhofen in Germany, guided by calculations from a combined flight dynamics team of ESA’s Space Operations Centre, ESOC, in Darmstadt, Germany and France’s CNES space agency.

The commands were uploaded to the satellite via an extended network of ground stations, made up of Galileo stations and additional sites coordinated by France’s CNES space agency.

Satellite manufacturer OHB also provided expertise throughout the recovery, helping to adapt the flight procedures.

Until the manoeuvres started, the combined ESA–CNES team maintained the satellites pointing at the Sun using their gyroscopes and solar sensors. This kept the satellites steady in space but their navigation payloads could not be used reliably.

In the new orbit, the satellite’s radiation exposure has also been greatly reduced, ensuring reliable performance for the long term.


A suitable orbit

The revised, more circular orbit means the fifth satellite’s Earth sensor can be used continuously, keeping its main antenna oriented towards Earth and allowing its navigation payload to be switched on.

Significantly, the orbit means that it will now overfly the same location on the ground every 20 days. This compares to a normal Galileo repeat pattern of every 10 days, effectively synchronising its ground track with the rest of the Galileo constellation.


The navigation test campaign

The satellite’s navigation payload was activated on 29 November, to begin the full ‘In-Orbit Test’ campaign. This is being performed from ESA’s Redu centre in Belgium, where a 20 m-diameter antenna can study the strength and shape of the navigation signals at high resolution.

“First, the various payload elements, especially the Passive Hydrogen Maser atomic clock, were warmed up, then the payload’s first ‘signal in space’ was transmitted,” said David Sanchez-Cabezudo, managing the test campaign.

“The satellite-broadcast L-band navigation signal is monitored using the large antenna at Redu, with experts from OHB and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd – the payload manufacturer, based in Guildford, UK – also on hand to analyse how it performs over time.”

The first Galileo FOC navigation signal-in-space transmitting in the three Galileo frequency bands (E5/E6/L1) was tracked by Galileo Test User Receivers deployed at various locations in Europe, namely at Redu (B), ESTEC (NL), Weilheim (D) and Rome (I). The quality of the signal is good and in line with expectations.

The Search And Rescue (SAR) payload will be switched on in few days in order to complement the in-orbit test campaign.


The way forward

The same recovery manoeuvres are planned for the sixth satellite, taking it into the same orbital plane but on the opposite side of Earth.

The decision whether to use the two satellites for Navigation and SAR purposes as part of the Galileo constellation will be taken by the European Commission based on the test results.


About Galileo


Galileo is Europe’s own global satellite navigation system. It will consist of 30 satellites and their ground infrastructure.

The definition phase and the development and In-Orbit Validation phase of the Galileo programme were carried out by the European Space Agency (ESA) and co-funded by ESA and the European Union. This phase has created a mini-constellation of four satellites and a reduced ground segment dedicated to validating the overall concept.


The four satellites launched during the IOV phase form the core of the constellation that is being extended to reach Full Operational Capability (FOC).


The FOC phase is fully funded by the European Commission. The Commission and ESA have signed a delegation agreement by which ESA acts as design and procurement agent on behalf of the Commission.

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1 octobre 2014 3 01 /10 /octobre /2014 10:50
Le gel d’une tuyauterie de carburant dans Soyouz à l’origine de l’échec de Galileo


01.10.2014 Par Dominique Gallois - Le


Alors que la commission d'enquête européenne chargée d'analyser l'échec de la mission Galileo cet été se réunira mardi 7 octobre, la cause est maintenant trouvée. La fusée russe Soyouz n'a pas réussi à mettre sur la bonne orbite les satellites européens de navigation en raison d'une panne d'alimentation en hydrazine de son étage supérieur Fregat.


Suite de l’article

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1 septembre 2014 1 01 /09 /septembre /2014 11:50
Galileo : anomalie d'injection résultats des premières analyses de données

Août 25, 2014


Arianespace a lancé le 22 août 2014, à 9:27 heure locale en Guyane, un lanceur Soyouz ST transportant deux satellites de la constellation Galileo. Le décollage et la première partie de la mission se sont déroulés de façon normale, conduisant à une séparation des satellites selon la séquence prévue, et à la réception du signal. Ce n'est qu'après la séparation des satellites, et en temps différé, que l'exploitation progressive des informations fournies par les stations de télémesure de l'ESA et du CNES a révélé que l'orbite atteinte n'était pas conforme à l’attendue.


L'orbite visée était circulaire, inclinée à 55 degrés et avec un demi grand axe de 29 900 km. L'orbite atteinte est elliptique avec une excentricité de 0,23, un demi grand axe de 26 200 km et une inclinaison de 49,8 degrés. L'état et le positionnement de l'étage supérieur Fregat et des deux satellites sont stables et ne présentent aucun risque pour les populations. L'étage Fregat a d'ailleurs été vidangé de ses ergols résiduels et dépressurisé de façon normale. Selon les premières analyses effectuées, une anomalie se serait produite pendant la phase de vol de l'étage supérieur Fregat, conduisant à une injection des satellites sur une orbite non-conforme.

Les études et les analyses de données se poursuivent à Kourou et à Evry sous la coordination de Stéphane Israël, PDG d'Arianespace. Elles sont menées en collaboration avec les partenaires russes du programme Soyuz en Guyane (Roscosmos et les industriels RKTs-Progress et NPO-Lavotchkine), ainsi qu'avec l’ESA et ses partenaires industriels, afin de déterminer le périmètre de l’anomalie et son impact sur la mission.


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8 mai 2014 4 08 /05 /mai /2014 11:50
Next Galileo satellites arrive at Europe's Spaceport


May 7, 2014 ASDNews Source : European Space Agency (ESA)


Europe’s two latest Galileo navigation satellites touched down today at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, ready for their joint launch this summer.


Packed safely within protective and environmentally controlled containers, the satellites were carried across the Atlantic aboard a 747 cargo carrier.


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13 mars 2014 4 13 /03 /mars /2014 13:50
ESA to certify first Galileo position fixes worldwide



Mar 12, 2014 ASDNews Source : European Space Agency (ESA)


To mark the first anniversary of Galileo’s historic first satnav positioning measurement, ESA plans to award certificates to groups who picked up signals from the four satellites in orbit to perform their own fixes.


In 2011 and 2012 the first four satellites were launched – the minimum number needed for navigation fixes.


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16 décembre 2013 1 16 /12 /décembre /2013 17:50
Galileo achieves its first airborne tracking



December 16th, 2013 By EuropeAerospace -


ESA’s Galileo satellites have achieved their very first aerial fix of longitude, latitude and altitude, enabling the inflight tracking of a test aircraft. ESA’s four Galileo satellites in orbit have supported months of positioning tests on the ground across Europe since the very first fix back in March.


Now the first aerial tracking using Galileo has taken place, marking the first time ever that Europe has been able to determine the position of an aircraft using only its own independent navigation system.


This milestone took place on a Fairchild Metro-II above Gilze-Rijen Air Force Base in the Netherlands at 12:38 GMT on 12 November.


It came as part of an aerial campaign overseen jointly by ESA and the National Aerospace Laboratory of the Netherlands, NLR, with the support of Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, and LVNL, the Dutch Air Navigation Service Provider.


A pair of Galileo test receivers was used aboard the aircraft, the same kind currently employed for Galileo testing in the field and in labs across Europe. They were connected to an aeronautical-certified triple-frequency Galileo-ready antenna mounted on top of the aircraft.


Tests were scheduled during periods when all four Galileo satellites were visible in the sky – four being the minimum needed for positioning fixes.


The receivers fixed the plane’s position and, as well as determining key variables such as the ‘position, velocity and timing’ accuracy, time to first fix, signal to noise ratio, range error and range-rate error.


Testing covered both Galileo’s publicly available Open Service and the more precise, encrypted Public Regulated Service, whose availability is limited to governmental entities.


Flights covered all major phases: take off, straight and level flight with constant speed, orbit, straight and level flight with alternating speeds, turns with a maximum bank angle of 60+ , pull-ups and push-overs, approaches and landings.


They also allowed positioning to be carried out during a wide variety of conditions, such as vibrations, speeds up to 456 km/h, accelerations up to 2 ghorizontal and 0.5-1.5 gvertical, and rapid jerks. The maximum altitude reached during the flights were 3000 m.


NLR’s Fairchild Metro-II is something of a satnav veteran, having previously performed initial European GPS testing back in the 1980s and the first tests of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service, EGNOS, which sharpens GPS accuracy and monitors its reliability over Europe for high-accuracy or even ‘safety-of-life’ uses.


The definition and development of Galileo’s in-orbit validation phase were carried out by ESA and co-funded by ESA and the EU.


The Full Operational Capability phase is managed and fully funded by the European Commission. The Commission and ESA have signed a delegation agreement by which ESA acts as design and procurement agent on behalf of the Commission.

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6 décembre 2013 5 06 /12 /décembre /2013 08:50
Galileo satellite

Galileo satellite



Brussels, 5 December 2013 Council of the European Union Ref 17376/13 (OR. en) PRESSE 536


Today's Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council adopted a new financial and governance framework for the European satellite navigation systems (EGNOS and Galileo) for 2014-2020 (26/13; statements: 16097/13 ADD1 + ADD2).

The seven-year financial envelope for the EU's satellite navigation programmes is set at EUR 7 billion in current prices, in accordance with the next multi-annual financial framework (MFF).

The new regulation provides inter alia for the following:

– The activities to be financed under the regulation concern the completion of the deployment phase of Galileo (that is, the establishment of space and ground-based infrastructures) and the exploitation of Galileo and EGNOS.

– The services to be provided are defined.

– A new governance framework establishes a strict division of tasks between the Commission, the European GNSS Agency and the European Space Agency.

– Public procurement rules aim to promote the widest participation possible throughout the Union and ensure fair competition conditions.

– One of the objectives is the development of applications based on the satellite navigation systems, such as chipsets and receivers, with a view to maximising the socio-economic benefits of the programmes. A maximum amount of EUR 100 million in constant 2011 prices will be made available under the budget of the programmes to this end. It is, however, underscored that such financing must not jeopardise the deployment and operation of the satellite navigation infrastructure.

– The Commission will be responsible for the security of the programmes and will have the power to lay down high-level objectives in this respect. It will also be the Commission's task to establish the technical specifications and other measures to implement the security objectives, but these more specific requirements must be endorsed by the member states' experts to be adopted. In establishing those objectives and requirements, the Commission must make sure that the general level of security is not lowered compared to the existing standards.

– It will be possible to extend EGNOS coverage to other regions of the world, in particular candidate countries, non-EU countries belonging to the Single European Sky and countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy.


EGNOS, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service, enhances the accuracy of existing civilian GPS services, with a geographical area centred on Europe and the possibility of extension to other regions of the world in the future. It is already operational and available for use with both an open service and a safety-of-life service for aviation.


Galileo will be an independent European global satellite-based navigation system, providing five services:

– an open service (OS), free for the user and providing signals for timing and positioning

– a commercial service (CS) for applications for professional or commercial use requiring higher performance than offered by the open service

– a public regulated service (PRS) using strong, encrypted signals and restricted to government-authorised users

– a service that contributes to the international search and rescue service (S&R) system by detecting emergency signals

– a contribution to integrity-monitoring services, aimed at users of safety-of-life (SoL) applications. The SoL function, which will be provided in cooperation with other satellite navigation systems such as the American GPS, allows users for whom safety is essential, for instance airlines or maritime companies, to be alerted when certain margins of accuracy are not met.

The first three services (OS, PRS and S&R) are due to be available by 2014-2015. The system will be fully operational when all satellites are in place . This should be achieved by 2019 or 2020.

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5 décembre 2013 4 05 /12 /décembre /2013 08:50
Galileo progresse avec l'École Royale Militaire (ERM)


02/12/13 Laurence Gastout –


Perdu sur la route ? Pour bon nombre d'entre nous, le réflexe est de brancher son navigateur GPS ou de consulter Google Maps sur son smartphone. Parmi les outils à utilisation militaire, on retrouve également le système américain GPS. Mais l'Europe n'est pas en reste et développe également son système de géolocalisation Galileo. À cette fin, le Professeur Muls et deux étudiants de l'École Royale Militaire (ERM) mettent la main à la pâte.


Actuellement, ce sont les États-Unis qui détiennent le monopole du système de positionnement par satellite. « Etant membre de l'OTAN, la Belgique utilise le service militaire crypté du GPS en opération », explique le Professeur Alain Muls, directeur du département de Communication, Information, Systems & Sensors (CISS) de l'ERM. « Le projet Galileo permettra à l'Europe de disposer d'un système de navigation en gestion propre, d'offrir un service de navigation crypté pour une utilisation gouvernementale et profitera aussi de l'essor économique engendré par ces systèmes de géolocalisation. »


Outre ces avantages, Galileo présente une modernisation technologique par rapport au GPS actuel. En effet, actuellement les services de navigation se basent sur des signaux et une technologie des années '70 tandis que Galileo se structure sur des signaux plus récents et plus performants. Cela permettra, en temps réel, une précision se rapprochant du mètre.


Le Professeur Muls s'intéresse plus particulièrement au Public Regulated Service (PRS) de Galileo. « En d'autres termes : le service de navigation basé sur des signaux cryptés et qui sera réservé à des organismes gouvernementaux comme la Défense, les ministères fédéraux ou encore les services de secours », commente Alain Muls.


En décembre, des prototypes de récepteur des signaux Galileo PRS prendront le large sur notre frégate Léopold I en direction de la Norvège. L'objectif étant de tester la sensibilité, la robustesse et la précision du PRS en se rapprochant du cercle polaire. La mise en place et le câblage ont été préparés par l'unité Naval Logistics and Maintenance de Zeebruges.

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11 octobre 2013 5 11 /10 /octobre /2013 07:50
Satellites : panne allemande pour le programme Galileo

10/10/2013 Michel Cabirol –


Le constructeur allemand OHB boit la tasse. Et Galileo prend à nouveau du retard. La PME allemande est incapable d'assurer seule la livraison des satellites. Astrium et Thales Alenia Space ont été appelés en renfort à la demande de l'Agence spatiale européenne.


C'est chaud bouillant en ce moment dans la communauté spatiale. La raison ? Les difficultés d'OHB sur le programme Galileo, dont seuls quatre satellites IOV (In-Orbit Validation) de la constellation sont déjà en orbite au lieu de 18 depuis la fin de 2012. "Le programme ne va pas bien", assure un bon connaisseur du dossier. La PME allemande, à qui l'Union européenne a confié la fabrication de 22 satellites FOC (Full Operational Capability) de la constellation du futur GPS européen, est aujourd'hui incapable de s'en sortir toute seule sans aide, estiment plusieurs sources concordantes interrogées par La Tribune.


Arrivé en juin au centre d'essai de l'Agence spatiale européenne (ESA) l'Estec à Noordwijk (Pays-bas), le premier satellite n'est toujours pas qualifié alors qu'il aurait dû l'être dès le mois d'août. Pourquoi ? L'Estec n'avait pas les capacités pour le faire, explique-t-on à La Tribune. Le satellite devrait être finalement qualifié en novembre à l'issue des essais sous vide. L'union européenne (UE), l'ESA et l'agence spatiale allemande (DLR) sont donc mobilisés pour aider le soldat OHB mais la situation, selon plusieurs sources concordantes, semble compliquée.


Deux audits sur OHB


Deux audits - l'un de l'ESA, l'autre de Roland Berger Allemagne pour le compte de l'UE - ont été diligentés pour connaître l'étendue des déboires chez OHB... que cherchent absolument à minimiser aussi bien l'Union européenne que l'ESA, l'Allemagne et bien sûr l'industriel. "Nous avons notre part de responsabilité sur les retards mais pour seulement un tiers, confie-t-on au sein d'OHB. On avait sous-estimé certains risques et certains défis".


Grand artisan du programme Galileo, le  commissaire européen en charge de l'espace, Antonio Tajani, souhaiterait partir sur un succès de Galileo avant les élections de mai 2014. D'où sa  discrétion sur un sujet qui fâche. Tout comme le directeur général adjoint de la direction générale Entreprise et Industrie, le Dr Paul Weissenberg. Pour autant, la commission n'avait semble-t-il pas encore toute l'expérience pour gérer un programme de cette envergure, estime un industriel concerné par le programme Galileo.


Astrium et Thales appelés au secours


Pourtant, l'audit de Roland Berger aurait pointé la gestion défaillante du programme Galileo par OHB, qui aurait cumulé de nombreuses erreurs en terme de choix de technologies (des composants non adaptés) et de management. Aussi, selon ces mêmes sources, Astrium (EADS), le rival malheureux dans les deux compétitions organisées par l'Union européenne en janvier 2010 (14 satellites) puis en février 2012 (8), ainsi que Thales Alenia Space (TAS), ont été appelés au début de l'été pour jouer les pompiers de service à la demande de l'ESA et de l'UE pour aider OHB à remettre le programme sur les rails. Ce qu'on dément chez OHB, qui assure que c'est l'entreprise, qui a fait appel aux deux industriels.


La filiale spatiale d'EADS a une mission d'assistance à maîtrise d'œuvre pour aider OHB à gérer un programme de cette envergure. Un comble... quand on connait les rapports difficiles entre les deux groupes. Pour sa part, TAS, qui avait interdit de concourir en 2010 pour de sombres raisons de retour géographique, a été lui aussi appelé au secours pour aider les équipes d'OHB dans l'intégration des satellites de la constellation dans les deux chaînes de production sur deux sites de l'entreprise allemande. Une expertise reconnue de TAS Italie, qui a déjà travaillé notamment sur les constellations O3b, Globalstar et Iridium. Dans ce cadre, TAS a donné son accord pour envoyer une grosse équipe d'experts expérimentés en Allemagne. Pas question en revanche pour l'industriel tricolore d'avoir une quelconque responsabilité sur les satellites en orbite.


La constellation aurait dû être lancée fin 2012


Pour le calendrier de mise en service des satellites, c'est le flou qui règne. D'autant que l'ESA aurait dû publier début octobre un nouveau calendrier. Ce qui n'a pas été le cas. Car l'ESA attend la fin des essais sous vide, qui pourraient faire apparaître de nouveaux risques pour "solidifier" un calendrier. Une bonne fois pour toute. Petite piqûre de rappel. Les 14 satellites devaient être normalement en orbite fin 2012 pour la mise en service du service Galileo. Avec seulement 18 satellites sur les 27 au total, l'Europe aurait pu ouvrir un service à hauteur de 95 % du temps, notamment le service public réglementé, le service recherche et sauvetage mais pas le service commercial, qui devait être seulement à l'essai.


Le programme a été recalé une première fois depuis. Le lancement des deux premiers Galileo de la série des 14 était prévu en avril 2013. Arianespace a gardé des slots en avril, mai et juin pour Galileo, qui doit être lancé par Soyuz en principe. Chez OHB, on maintient que les deux premiers satellites pourront être lancés fin mai, début juin. Ce qui semble aujourd'hui optimiste. Car certains estiment que les 14 satellites ne seront pas lancés d'ici à la 2014. "Huit, ce serait miraculeux, quatre ce serait déjà bien", explique-t-on à la Tribune. Les services et donc les emplois générés par Galileo attendront... 2015. D'autant que les pays n'ont pas l'argent dans la mise en œuvre des services.


Un peu de retard, selon Geneviève Fioraso


Interrogée par "La Tribune", la ministre en charge de l'espace, Geneviève Fioraso, a reconnu début septembre dans une interview que le programme a "effectivement un peu de retard dans la livraison des satellites", mais, avait minimisé son impact en estimant que "pour un tel programme, c'est assez fréquent et cela ne remet pas en cause son intérêt".


Toutefois, il est notamment reproché à OHB, qui n'était jusqu'alors qu'un simple assemblier de satellites, d'avoir assuré à l'ESA lors des deux appels d'offre qu'il disposait de toutes les compétences pour maîtriser un programme de cette envergure, explique-t-on à La Tribune. Or, ce ne semble pas être le cas. "Ces retards étaient courus d'avance, il en fallait pas confier ce programme à une PME", note une autre source contactée. D'autant que le choix de la Commission en faveur des industriels allemands était fléché pour des questions de retours géographiques.


Rivalité entre l'ESA et l'UE


A qui la faute ? A l'UE et à l'ESA, qui sont comme chien et chat depuis la montée en puissance de la Commission en matière d'espace, se renvoient aujourd'hui mutuellement la responsabilité des déboires d'OHB, qui en 2010 avait été surpris d'être sélectionné pour l'ensemble des 14 satellites. "Nous nous attendions à être une double source d'approvisionnement et avoir quatre satellites, au mieux huit. Nous n'avions pas anticipé", rappelle-t-on chez OHB. Cette nouvelle crise intervient alors que l'UE et l'ESA sont en train de négocier une nouvelle gouvernance en matière de politique spatiale européenne.


Lors de la sélection d'OHB en janvier 2010, ce choix était une victoire passée un peu inaperçu de l'UE face à l'ESA. Car, au plus haut niveau de l'ESA, ce n'est pas tout à fait le choix qui aurait été fait. "L'ESA aurait pris en compte la dimension industrielle du projet", expliquait-on à la Tribune à cette époque. Sous-entendu, la réalisation des quatorze satellites (566 millions d'euros) aurait sans doute été partagée entre les deux rivaux, avec une prime à l'offre mieux-disante d'OHB.


Le commissaire européen aux Transports, Antonio Tajani, en a décidé autrement en choisissant OHB, bien aidé par Astrium qui avait présenté alors une offre commerciale très médiocre. La PME allemande avait du coup la meilleure offre technique et financière, selon les conclusions techniques d'une commission mixte ESA-UE. Mais aujourd'hui, on reproche aujourd'hui à l'ESA, selon des sources concordantes, son manque d'expertise et d'analyse sur les capacités d'OHB à maîtriser le programme Galileo.


Y avait-il la place pour un troisième champion européen ?


Avec OHB, l'UE et l'ESA a créé un troisième champion européen alors qu'Astrium et TAS ont déjà dû mal à vivre à deux. Résultat, en France, on commence à reparler d'un rapprochement entre les deux constructeurs de satellites. Ce qui serait un bain de sang au niveau social...Et tout "bénéf" pour l'Allemagne, qui est en train de gagner des compétences grâce aux redondances organisées par l'UE et l'ESA. C'est toute la morale de cette histoire. Et dire que Berlin avait voté contre le financement de Galileo en 2007.


Le coût d'un satellite et de son lancement s'élève entre 70 et 80 millions d'euros. Le double quand on intègre dans la facture le système sol, la gestion de la constellation et les tests. Au total, un satellite Galileo coûte aux contribuables européens 160 millions d'euros.

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10 octobre 2013 4 10 /10 /octobre /2013 11:50
European Ground Stations Enable Galileo Search and Rescue Testing


Oct 8, 2013 ASDNews Source : European Space Agency


ESA’s completion of a pair of dedicated ground stations at opposite ends of Europe has enabled Galileo satellites in orbit to participate in global testing of the Cospas–Sarsat search and rescue system.


The Maspalomas station, at the southern end of the largest island of the Canary Islands, at the southern fringe of European waters, was activated in June. And this last month has seen the Svalbard site on Spitsbergen in the Norwegian Arctic come on line – the two sites can already communicate and will soon be performing joint tests.


This speedy progress has enabled the participation of the latest two Galileo satellites in an international  demonstration and evaluation programme – a worldwide test campaign for a new expansion of the world’s oldest and largest satellite-based rescue system, Cospas–Sarsat.


Founded by Canada, France, Russia and the US, Cospas–Sarsat has assisted in the rescue of tens of thousands of souls in its three decades of service. Distress signals from across the globe are detected by satellites, then swiftly relayed to the nearest search and rescue (SAR) authorities.


Now the programme is introducing a new medium-orbit SAR system to improve coverage and response times, with the Galileo satellites in the vanguard of this major expansion.


Supporting search and rescue is a separate function to Galileo’s main task of providing global navigation and timing services, but no less important.


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30 septembre 2013 1 30 /09 /septembre /2013 17:50
Thales Alenia Space signs contract for EGNOS services worth more than 120 million euros

Sep 27, 2013 ASDNews Source : Thales Group


Thales Alenia Space today announced the signature of a contract with Telespazio worth more than 120 million euros, within the scope of a contract for the supply of EGNOS services (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service), signed by ESSP (European Satellite Services Provider) and Telespazio in July 2013. The overall contract covers EGNOS support and maintenance operations for a period of eight years. As the lead program partner, Thales Alenia Space is responsible for EGNOS maintenance, including obsolescence management and minor upgrades. The aim is to guarantee an optimized service level, as well as to integrate new EGNOS system functions especially for aviation and maritime transport applications.


EGNOS, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System, is designed to improve the positioning messages supplied by GPS (Global Positioning System). Thales Alenia Space is the EGNOS prime contractor. EGNOS was deployed starting in 2005, and has been operational in "open service" since 2009. The system's "Safety of Life" service was officially declared operational in March 2011, and enables its use in the aviation sector for landings, as well as precision approaches to European airports, without requiring ground guidance systems.


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3 septembre 2013 2 03 /09 /septembre /2013 11:50
Galileo's secure service tested by Member States

Sep 2, 2013 ASDNews Source : European Space Agency (ESA)


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.


“Galileo is in its In-Orbit Validation phase, planned to include experimental demonstrations of PRS capabilities in terms of positioning and access control,” explained Miguel Manteiga Bautista, heading ESA’s Galileo Security Office.


PRS access was initially considered for Galileo’s Full Operational Capability phase, but it has been enabled in 2013 in response to the strong interest of Member States in this service. To allow early access to PRS during the current phase, the European Commission and ESA began the joint project ‘PRS Participants To IOV’ (PPTI) in July 2012.


ESA ensured the availability of several tools developed under ESA contracts, including test receivers and other qualification equipment. ESA also provided the critical knowhow and expertise required to conduct these experimental campaigns.


ESA’s PRS Laboratory, based at the Agency’s ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, was used to provide training, demonstrations and sample data.


“As a result, Belgium, France, Italy and the UK have now performed independent PRS acquisition and positioning tests. In parallel, ESA, through collaboration with Dutch and Italian authorities, is also conducting PRS fixed and mobile validation in several locations in the Netherlands and Italy,” added Miguel Manteiga.


The PRS tests have demonstrated a current autonomous positioning accuracy below 10 m when in the correct geometrical configuration. This is an impressive result considering the small number of Galileo satellites in orbit and the limited ground infrastructure so far deployed.


In the case of Italy, which has developed its own PRS receiver, the tests have already confirmed the feasibility of independent PRS receiver development and verification based on specifications provided by ESA.


“But the PPTI project is still ongoing in order to test more advanced functionalities this coming autumn and to run the first aeronautical PRS tests in collaboration with the Dutch authorities. Other Member States have also expressed their willingness to join the IOV PRS experimentation campaigns soon,“ concluded Miguel Manteiga.


The project is the first step to ensure the use of the PRS service as soon as it is operational. It will be complemented by the PRS Pilot Projects, focused on PRS applications, which are currently under definition in a common effort between the EU Member States, the European Commission, ESA and the European Global Navigation Satellite System Agency.


In addition to the qualification of the PRS service, these initiatives will allow the timely availability of competitive PRS receivers in Europe and the setting up of organisations in the Member States required to handle PRS.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 07:50
Galileo Spreads its Wings

Jul 11, 2013 ASDNews Source : European Space Agency (ESA)


Deployment of the solar wings on the latest Galileo satellite is shown being checked at ESA’s technical hub in the Netherlands. The navigation satellite’s pair of 1 x 5 m solar wings, carrying more than 2500 state-of-the-art gallium arsenide solar cells, will power the satellite during its 12-year working life.


A counterweighted rig supports the deployment, otherwise the delicate fold-out wings – designed for the weightlessness of space – would crumple under the pull of Earth gravity.


With the first four Galileo ‘In-Orbit Validation’ satellites already in orbit, this is the first of the rest of Europe’s satnav constellation.


These ‘Full Operational Capability’ satellites provide the same operational services as their predecessors, but they are built by a new industrial team: OHB in Bremen, Germany build the satellites with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd in Guildford, UK contributing the navigation payloads.


There are also a lot more of them: this satellite is only the first of 22 ordered from OHB. It arrived at ESA’s ESTEC research and technical centre in Noordwijk in mid-May to begin a rigorous campaign of testing in simulated launch and space conditions, guaranteeing its readiness for launch.


The very first test performed on the satellite once it came out of its container was a System Compatibility Test Campaign, linking it up with the Galileo Control Centres in Germany and Italy and ground user receivers as if it was already in orbit.


Galileo’s wings with 30%-efficient solar cells were fitted at the end of June, supplied by Dutch Space in nearby Leiden.


Future satellites will have their wings fitted at OHB before coming to ESTEC, but this first satellite offered an opportunity for Dutch Space engineers to train their OHB counterparts in the procedure.


“The 22 Galileo FOC satellites are being produced and tested on a batch production basis, which is a new way of working for ESA,” explained Jean-Claude Chiarini, overseeing FOC satellite procurement for the Agency.


“The concept is really to set up a steady flow of satellites from OHB to ESTEC and then Kourou for launch over the next few years.


“The first four will undergo full validation testing, checking the underlying design is correct, in order to support the formal ground qualification of the design, with subsequent FOC satellites then going through acceptance testing, concentrating on checking workmanship.”


The FOC satellites, while resembling their predecessors, are designed with this production concept in mind. Hinged modules offer easy access to internal subsystems for rapid repair or potential replacement of units.


The next satellite is due to arrive around the start of August. The battery of simulations includes vibration and acoustic testing, as well as thermal–vacuum testing – submitting them to the airlessness and temperature extremes of space for weeks at a time.

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25 juin 2013 2 25 /06 /juin /2013 12:50
Galileo FOC is dominated by its circular L-band antenna that will continuously broadcast navigation messages down to Earth. Credits OHB.

Galileo FOC is dominated by its circular L-band antenna that will continuously broadcast navigation messages down to Earth. Credits OHB.

Jun 25, 2013 (EAA)


Noordwijk, Netherlands - These pictures give the first detailed views of the next batch of Galileo satellites, the first of which has already been delivered to ESA for rigorous testing in simulated space conditions.


The first Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellite was delivered to ESA's ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands on 15 May.


It is being prepared for testing in the ESTEC Test Centre, a unique facility for Europe with all the facilities needed to validate a satellite for launch under one roof.


This initial FOC satellite is functionally identical to the first four Galileo In-Orbit Validation satellites already in orbit, the operational nucleus of the full Galileo constellation, but has been built by a separate industrial team.


Like all the other 21 FOC satellites so far procured by ESA, the satellite's prime contractor is OHB in Bremen, Germany and the navigation payload was produced by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd in Guildford, UK. The photos shown here were taken at OHB.


The satellite is approximately the size and shape of an old-fashioned telephone booth, dominated by its circular L-band antenna that will continuously broadcast navigation messages down to Earth.


The smaller, hexagonal antenna beside it will perform a no less vital task - picking up emergency messages from vessels in distress to relay to search and rescue authorities, contributing to the international Cospas-Sarsat system.


A second Galileo FOC satellite is due to join its predecessor at ESTEC later this summer, preparing for a launch scheduled for later this year.

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17 mai 2013 5 17 /05 /mai /2013 12:50
First new Galileo satellite arrives at ESA for space testing

May 17, 2013 ASDNews Source : European Space Agency


The first satellite of Galileo’s next phase has arrived at ESA’s technical heart in the Netherlands for a rigorous set of tests to check its readiness for launch.


This first Galileo Full Operational Capability – FOC – satellite is functionally identical to the first four Galileo In-Orbit Validation satellites already in orbit, the operational nucleus of the full Galileo constellation, but has been built by a separate industrial team.


Like all the other 21 FOC satellites so far procured by ESA, the satellite’s prime contractor is OHB in Bremen, Germany and the navigation payload was produced by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd in Guildford, UK.


This first FOC satellite arrived by road at ESTEC’s Test Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, on 15 May to undergo a series of tests simulating different aspects of launch and space environment. The comprehensive test programme will validate the new design and all the satellites to follow.


A unique facility for Europe, ESA’s test centre has all the facilities needed to validate a satellite for launch under a single roof.


Thermal vacuum testing will simulate the temperature extremes the satellites must endure in the airlessness of space throughout their 12-year working lifetimes. Without any moderating atmosphere, temperatures can shift hundreds of degrees from sunlight to shadow.


Other activities on the schedule include shaker and acoustic noise testing – simulating the vibration and noise of launch – as well as electromagnetic compatibility and antenna testing, placing the satellite in chambers shielded from all external radio signals to reproduce infinite space and check that its various antennas and electrical systems are interoperable without harmful interference.


Each satellite will offer the full range of Galileo positioning, navigation and timing services, plus search and rescue message relays, their accuracy ensured by onboard atomic clocks kept synchronised by a worldwide ground network.


“The Galileo FOC satellites provide the same capabilities as the previous IOV satellites, but with improved performance, such as higher transmit power,” explains Giuliano Gatti, the Head of the Galileo Space Segment Procurement Office. “They are to all intents a new design that requires a full checkout before getting the green light for launch.


“By fully validating this satellite, the second flight model due to follow it here at beginning of June, and the third one due to arrive in ESTEC at middle of July, we gain full knowledge of their characteristics, and the further satellites in the series will require less rigorous functional testing.”

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22 avril 2013 1 22 /04 /avril /2013 17:51
Accord sur la gouvernance et le financement des satellites européens

22.04.2013 Fondation Robert Schuman


Le 17 avril 2013, le Conseil et le Parlement européen sont parvenus à un accord portant sur le financement et la gouvernance des systèmes européens de navigation par satellite, Egnos et Galileo. L'accord prévoit notamment une dotation européenne de 6,3 milliards d'euros, une répartition des responsabilités entre la Commission, l'agence spécialisée et l'Agence spatiale européenne, et des règles en matière de marchés publics. Le Parlement et le Conseil doivent encore approuver formellement cet accord avant qu'il n'entre en vigueur dans le cadre du prochain budget européen pluriannuel 2014-2020... Lire la suite

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18 avril 2013 4 18 /04 /avril /2013 10:39

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17 avril 2013 3 17 /04 /avril /2013 13:01

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5 juillet 2011 2 05 /07 /juillet /2011 21:00


Annual Space Conference organized by SWF and IFRI

The conference will provide snapshot of the current governance situation of space programs and issues in three panels. The first one  will cover space governance after the Lisbon Treaty, assessing the overall policy and institutional consequences of the Treaty and providing analysis on the structural framework of European space governance. The second panel will look in more details at the governance issues of the Galileo and GMES programs. The last panel will be dedicated to the governance of security-related space programs, emphasizing both the role of specific institutions (EDA, EEAS) and the development of concrete programs (SSA, MUSIS). Last but not least, a keynote speaker will address the current diplomatic activity around the adoption of an international Code of Conduct in space.

8:30 – Registration and coffee
9:00-9:15 – The basics of European space governance
Christophe VENET, Research Associate to the Space Policy Program, Ifri
9:15-10:45 – Panel 1: European space governance after the Lisbon Treaty
The first panel will explore structural issues: the institutional interplay between the various European stakeholders, the implications of the Lisbon Treaty in terms of policy, the place of national actors in the European governance scheme and the burning topic of sustainable funding.

Moderator: Agnieszka LUKASZCZYK, Space Policy Consultant, Secure World Foundation
Policy implications of the Lisbon Treaty and governance evolutions
Gaëlle MICHELIER, Policy Officer, Space Policy & Coordination Unit, Enterprise and Industry DG, European Commission
What is the future role for national space agencies?
Jan KOLAR, Director, Czech Space Office
How to make space systems financially sustainable?
Maria BUZDUGAN, Legal Officer, EU satellite navigation programs: Legal, Financial and Institutional Aspects, Enterprise and Industry DG, European Commission
The legal framework of space activities in Europe
Tanja MASSON-ZWAAN, Deputy Director, International Institute of Air & Space Law, Leiden University
10:45-11:00 – Coffee break
11:00-12:30 – Panel 2: Governance issues for specific programs
The second panel will address the future governance perspectives of both Galileo and GMES as well as the issue of the future of procurement rules in Europe.

Moderator: TBC

Procurement rules: towards a third way?
Rik HANSEN, Research Fellow, Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, Leuven Catholic University
The future governance architecture of Galileo
Gérard BRACHET, Consultant in space policy, Vice-President of the International Astronautical Federation
GMES: which governance scheme after 2013?
Josef ASCHBACHER, Head, GMES Space Office, ESA
12:30-14:00 – Buffet lunch
14:00-14:30 – Keynote speech on the Code of Conduct for outer space activities
How is the international community warming up to the EU proposal?
Personal Representative on non-proliferation of WMD, European External Action Service
14:30-16:00 – Panel 3: The governance of Space & Security in Europe
The last panel will focus on Space & Security issues, addressing both institutional issues (the future role of the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the European External Action Service (EEAS) regarding space) and specific programs (MUSIS and SSA). 

Moderator: Laurence NARDON, Head of the Space Policy Program, Ifri

A growing role for EDA in space
Claude-France ARNOULD, Executive Director, European Defence Agency (TBC)
The use of space by the EEAS
Nicolas GROS-VERHEYDE, Journalist, author and editor of the blog Bruxelles2

MUSIS: The promises and limitations of multilateral cooperation endeavors
Olivier JEHIN, Editor of Europe Diplomacy and Defence, Ifri
16:00-16h30 – Wrap up of the day
Michael SIMPSON, Senior Program Manager, Secure World Foundation

Lieu : Conseil Central de l'Economie, avenue de la Joyeuse Entrée 17-21, Brussels
Organisateurs : contact:


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