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What means Galileo?

The Galileo positioning system is a proposed satellite navigation system, to be built by the European Union (EU) as an alternative to the US military-controlled Global Positioning System and the Russian GLONASS. The system should be operational by 2010, two years later than originally anticipated.
The Galileo positioning system is not abbreviated to GPS; use of the acronym "GPS", here and elsewhere, refers to the existing United States system.

The Galileo System will comprise global, regional and local components.
The global component is the core of the system, comprising the satellites and the required ground segment

The regional component of Galileo may comprise a number of External Region Integrity Systems (ERIS), implemented and operated by organisations, countries or groups of countries outside Europe to obtain integrity services independent of the Galileo System, in order, for example, to satisfy legal constraints relating to system guarantees.
Local components may be deployed for enhancing the performance of Galileo locally. These will enable higher performance such as the delivery of navigation signal in areas where the satellite signals cannot be received. Value-added service providers will deploy local components.


Galileo-Navigation NEWS-Archiv

19 04 2006 EU could be forced to scale down Galileo system
The European Union could be forced to cut back on the amount of satellites forming its flagship €3.2bn ($3.9bn) Galileo navigation system because of financial constraints, according to some experts.

Although it is struggling to keep its timetable, the EU hopes to start operating Galileo in 2008. The project involves deploying 30 satellites, including three back-up ones. However, following the successful launch of the first test Galileo satellite in December, some officials suggest that, if current financial difficulties persist, Galileo could still work effectively on a smaller scale. So far, financing has been secured only for the first validation phase, involving about four or five satellites. Philippe Busquin, a former European research commissioner who now oversees the Galileo project as a member of the European Parliament, said: “It’s not clear that we really need 30 satellites. We could certainly make Galileo a success with 24 or 25.’’The EU is hoping Galileo will not only provide an alternative to the Pentagon-controlled Global Positioning System (GPS) but will also tap into growing demand for satellite communications, a worldwide market estimated to be worth as much as €300bn by 2020. Jack Metthey, a director handling research in the European Commission, described the Galileo budget situation as “very, very tight”. He added: “Having less satellites would certainly help address the money issue.’’However, that could undermine the quality of the system, since some experts warn that fewer satellites would reduce the coverage and precision of the system. “Europe wants Galileo to become the post-GPS generation, not a sub-optimal system,’’ said one.

Last December, EU leaders ended months of haggling by agreeing to a new EU budget for 2007-2013 that will force substantial cuts in some areas of EU spending, notably transport. However, in order not to jeopardise the flagship satellite project, they set aside a specific budget line of almost €1bn for Galileo. There are question marks about additional public financing, as well as the inflow of private funding, which EU officials are currently negotiating with the corporate consortium developing Galileo. Others are concerned that Brussels might be forced to tap further into the already-depleted EU transport budget to plug any subsequent gap in Galileo’s funding, a move that would be fiercely resisted by companies that, for example, are relying on earmarked EU funding to support their aeronautical research and development.


24 04 2006 India, Germany to set up Science Centre
HANOVER: India, an emerging knowledge power, and Germany, Europe's technology giant, have decided to set up a Science Centre to accelerate their cooperation in science and technology, particularly in the frontier areas of space, biotechnology and medical research.

"This Science Centre is a unique project that will have equity participation from both Indian and German governments and their private sectors," Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal told.

"It will be a new milestone in our cooperation in the arena of technology and research," he added.

"The Indo-German Science Circle has given a new impetus to this cooperation and will further strengthen contacts between science and academic communities,"¨ said a joint statement issued at the end of talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday.

The envisaged Indo-German Science, Research and Technology Centre is expected to accelerate the process of buttressing links between the two countries' academic and strategic communities.

Germany has backed India's participation in the multibillion dollar Galileo project, the Global Navigation Satellite System and will continue ongoing bilateral cooperation in the Chandrayan moon mission project.

Berlin also promised to place a higher premium on cooperation between India and Germany during its presidency of the EU next year. Both countries plan to organise a ministerial conference on science and technology early next year.

The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and its German counterpart, the Helmholtz Association of German Research, are to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU).

"There is no limit to what India and Germany can do in the area of science, technology and research," Sibal said.

04-05-2006 Russia-EU space co-op: testing the limits

The equatorial rainforests of South America may seem an unlikely place to find the iconic Russian spacecraft Soyuz.

But from 2008 the family of launch vehicles that sent the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and the first satellite, Sputnik, into space, will be launched from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana.

For the European Space Agency (ESA) and others involved in the project this is something of a coup: the first launch of a Soyuz spacecraft in its 49-year history outside Russia or Kazakhstan.

The launch will be the culmination of almost ten years of deepening co-operation between the EU and Russia on all things stellar.

The ESA has spent millions of euros adapting facilities in French Guiana to accommodate Soyuz, including a custom-built launch facility.For Russia, co-operation on Soyuz is a valuable source of funds and secures access to the world's most modern launch facility.

For the EU the potential benefits are both commercial and strategic.Soyuz will join the ESA's workhorse craft Ariane and the Vega launcher which will be operational from 2007.

Arianespace, the outfit running commercial launches, is akin to an extraterrestrial DHL. It and the ESA hope Soyuz will fill the gap between Ariane, which is capable of heavy lifting, and the smaller and lighter Vega launch vehicle, bringing Europe closer to its aim in delivering commercial payloads "any mass, any time, any orbit". Already Spaceport and Ariane are big business, delivering into space everything from satellites for Mexican television to the Spanish ministry of defense’s military telecommunications satellite.In practical terms, Soyuz will make delivering medium-sized payloads of around two tonnes more cost-effective. While Ariane makes economic sense with six to seven Galileo-style satellites, Soyuz is cost-effective with only two. Soyuz is also capable of sending humans into space, helping Europe bridge the gap until the next generation of launch vehicles arrives, expected sometime in 2020.

But despite good relations so far on Soyuz, according to one Commission official, the limits of effective EU-Russia co-operation may be fast approaching. "Our relations with Russia have always been positive, the question is to have an assessment of the credibility of th level of ambition that they can support," the official said. In other words, if Russia wants to take part in more advanced projects it has to pay its way."It has been a long time since they have carried out any scientific missions. However they have a lot of experience and a lot of know-how," said the official. In 2001-03 some 25% of allocated funding failed to reach Russian space projects, but according to recent statements from the head of the Russian space agency, Anatoly Perminov, around 150 million euro in extra funding will be found for programs this year, bringing the total to 670m euro. By contrast, the European Space Agency's annual budget stands at around 3 billion euros. Today the level of ambition is outlined in the 'four spaces' agreement between the EU and the Russians on economic and political co-operation, where space featured prominently. Along with Soyuz, the deal agreed in May 2005 covered deeper co-operation on the EU's satellite navigation system Galileo and the Russian counterpart, GLONASS.Also covered is the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security program, where, according to the Commission, Russia and the EU have 'good interoperability'.But limits for this co-operation may be found in political mistrust over the uses of such hi-tech observation systems.As one Commission official put it, "it is important to explore any possibilities".

04-05-2006 Royal Institute of Navigation Brings Euro-Conference to Manchester
The Royal Institute Of Navigation (RIN), Britain's learned society for everyone interested in navigation, is in Manchester to host a European conference on today's hottest topic - satellite navigation.

In conjunction with the UK Industrial Space Committee and the Location and Timing Knowledge Transfer Network, the RIN is bringing the cream of Europe's navigation experts and developers to the Manchester International Convention Centre for a three-day satnav conference and exhibition, showing the worldwide importance of satellite technology to the way people will get from A-B in the future - on land, sea, and in the air.

Several RIN members have been involved in the development of the new European satellite navigation network Galileo, and the RIN hosted the media launch for the first preparatory satellite, GIOVE-A, in December 2005. So the Institute is well-placed to host this year's European Navigation Conference and to bring it to Manchester.

While companies at the forefront of developing technologies will be on hand in the exhibition hall, the conference will also run three parallel streams, focusing on a broad range of applications for satellite navigation technology.

Highlights will include:

Day 1 - Galileo simulations - see how Europe's new satellite constellation will work

Day 2 - Signals and interference - an exploration of Galileo's technical aspects

Day 3 - Government and security applications - how the technology may be used in a post-9/11 world

Both the conference and the exhibition will be opened on May 8 by RIN Patron HRH the Duke of Edinburgh. President of the RIN Professor David Last said the royal visit underlined the importance of satnav technology for travellers.

'The Duke has always been a dynamic patron, and we are delighted to welcome him to ENC 2006. Given his busy schedule, it's especially gratifying that he recognizes and is able to support the vital work of the navigation industry,' he added.

08-05-2006 LogicaCMG Gets Selected For Galileo Programme
LogicaCMG has been selected for three important development contracts valued at over 20 million euros in Europe’s Galileo programme. Galileo will be Europe’s own global navigation satellite system, providing a highly accurate, guaranteed global positioning service under civilian control.

The three contracts pertain to the development of the facilities that manage the most security sensitive elements of the programme - the Public Regulated Service Key Management Facility (PKMF), the Mission Key Management Facility (MKMF) and the Ground Control Segment Key Management Facility (GCS-KMF). These key management facilities, developed to stringent security specifications, will assure continued and accurate service to authorised users. They generate, distribute and manage cryptographic keys that will be used by a range of security modules within Galileo, in both the ground segment and onboard the satellites.

Galileo will be inter-operable with the American Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russian GLONASS, the two other global satellite navigation systems.

Sylvain Loddo, ESA’s Galileo Systems, ground segment and operations manager, said, “LogicaCMG has proved in earlier work on Galileo to have a sound understanding of the facilities needed to manage the 30-satellite Galileo system, and to have an innovative and pragmatic approach to solving the many technical challenges."

23-05-2006 Europe warned that Galileo navigation jobs could go east

Europe is in danger of losing many of the 140,000 jobs expected to be created by Galileo - the EU satellite radio navigation system due for launch in 2008 - to emerging economies such as China and India, an executive of the project said yesterday.

Rainer Grohe, executive director of the Galileo joint undertaking, the public body negotiating with a consortium of eight technology groups to deploy the system, said it could attract 2.5 billion users by 2020 - creating even more jobs.

But, he said, China, which is contributing €200m (£136m) to the €3.6bn (£2.5bn) project, and India, which is negotiating to join, are already planning to take the lead in developing the receivers and associated software required for the pinpoint accuracy promised by Galileo. Component costs, benefiting from receiver miniaturisation, are falling at up to 30% a year, with receivers now costing less than €150.

"We are stressing that European industry should start now to develop ideas for applications or the receivers will be built in China and the software developed in India," said Mr Grohe. "Our forecasts suggest there could be 140,000 new jobs in Europe, but there's no guarantee."

In Britain, companies clustered around the University of Surrey in Guildford and a small east Midlands business, Nottingham Scientific Ltd (NSL), are among pioneers of the new navigation system that is a civilian rival to - but compatible with - the American GPS (Global Positioning System) developed by the Pentagon. NSL won a government grant last week to develop receivers.

The development phase of Galileo, which ends later this year, has seen costs overrun by €400m on top of the €1.1bn originally earmarked. But Mr Grohe dismissed reports that the consortium negotiating the terms of the 20-year Galileo concession, worth some €1bn a year, would have to reduce from 30 the number of satellites planned for launch between now and 2008. "I don't expect costs to explode," he said.

The joint undertaking, set up by the European commission and the European Space Agency (ESA), is due to complete its work by the end of this year. In January, the ESA signed a €1bn contract with the consortium, Galileo Industries, to build four satellites and a network of ground stations, which are due to be deployed by the end of next year.Full Article here

23-05-2006 Galileo satellite project proves to be costly

Brussels - Europe's Galileo satellite navigation system has already run more than €400-million over budget in its first phase, the head of the group managing the project said on Monday.

The over-run was due mainly to miscalculations for the costs of building and launching two test satellites, said Rainer Grohe, director of the Galileo Joint Undertaking.

The first satellite was sent into orbit in December while the second is due to head into space by the end of the year.

Grohe said improvements to the project's security system also added to the financial burden.

The spending brings to €1,5-billion the total cost of the first phase. Around $4,5-billion have been budgeted for the entire project, which will involve putting 30 satellites into orbit.

Europe hopes the Galileo project, scheduled to be up and running commercially by 2010, will rival the reigning GPS network from the United States.

Unlike GPS, which is controlled by the US military, Galileo will stay under civilian control, increasing the European Union's strategic independence.

The new system is expected to be more accurate than GPS, giving mariners, pilots, drivers and others an almost pinpoint-accurate navigational tool.

01-06-2006 Galileo launch could be delayed to 2010 as EU, contractors dispute costs -report

The launch of Europe's Galileo satellite navigation system could be delayed until 2010, two years behind schedule, because of disputes over financing and strategy between the EU Commission and the contractors hired to build the system, according to a report in French daily Le Monde.

'Divergences [...] remain mainly over the sharing of risks related to development of the system, and for those related to commercial revenues and market developments,' the EU said in a statement to be released on June 7, quoted in the report.

The eight contractors, which include EADS, Alcatel, Thales and Finmeccanica, consider that EU governments should raise their contributions to the development phase, expected to cost 2.5 bln eur.

The report claims that although the EU is supposed to contribute 1 bln eur to this initial phase, only 900 mln eur has been budgeted for the 2007-2013 period.

But Rainer Grohe, executive director of Galileo Joint Undertaking, told Le Monde that although it is difficult to fully determine all the risks of the project, 'public governments should not pay for everything'.

Grohe also ruled out any reduction in the number of satellites to be put into orbit for the system. 'It would be ridiculous to save money with 4 fewer satellites, when we want to have a high quality system that is profitable thanks to the richness of its applications,' he said.

However, an official at Thales countered that many of the applications wanted by Galileo depend on political decisions that have not yet been made. 'It is therefore normal that European authorities cover these risks,' the official said in the report.

Since the complex negotiations will not be resolved soon, Galileo may not be operational until 2010 instead of 2008

June 2006 QinetiQ has signed a €7.3m

QinetiQ has signed a €7.3m, four year contract, covering its contribution to the European 'Galileo InReach' Consortium for Phase CDE1 of the European Galileo system. The Consortium, led by the Belgian company Septentrio Satellite Navigation (SSN), is contracted by the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop the Galileo second source Test User Segment (TUS). This will play a crucial role in the end to end evaluation and performance validation of the Galileo system during the In-Orbit Validation (IOV) phase.

The Consortium previously competitively bid, won and successfully completed the Phase C0 contract of the Galileo TUS. This addressed atmospheric propagation analysis, validation of the user requirements, receiver architecture design and specification for the test support tools (TST). Phase CDE1 was awarded by ESA as a follow on contract to build on these.

The major activities being led by QinetiQ include more comprehensive propagation analysis, security module development, and TST design, build and use. The ionospheric propagation analysis will be performed by the QinetiQ Centre for Propagation Analysis and Atmospheric Research (CPAR) and will theoretically validate the ESA expected performance.

Government and official users of Galileo will benefit from increased security and higher integrity provided by the Public Regulated Service (PRS). The security module being developed by QinetiQ provides the PRS Test User Receiver with access to this additional classified functionality. Prior to delivery, the security module will be evaluated and certified by the UK national security authority to the ESA Galileo security requirements.

The TST being built by QinetiQ will be used for independent validation of the Test User Receivers (TUR) being developed by the Consortium.

Galileo is Europe's global navigation satellite system, which will provide a wide range of user positioning services with well-defined guarantees of quality and continuity. Galileo will be compatible with existing systems such as GPS and EGNOS, and is expected to be fully operational before the end of this decade with a constellation of 30 satellites. The ‘Galileo InReach’ Consortium is lead by the Belgian company Septentrio Satellite Navigation and includes QinetiQ, Delft University of Technology, Ursa Minor, Orban Microwave Products, Deimos and SkySoft.

29-06-2006 ESA's Navigation Facility ready for the future

ESA's recently opened Navigation Facility has fast become a world-class provider of highly accurate navigation information, significantly enhancing data from cornerstone systems including GPS, EGNOS and – soon – Galileo.
In full operation since February 2006, ESA's Navigation Facility, located at ESOC, the European Space Operations Centre, is producing a growing series of processed data products providing some of the world's most accurate orbit and clock calculations related to GNSS, or global navigation satellite systems.
These consist of America's well-known GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) system, Russia's GLONASS system and, soon, Europe's own Galileo system.

The facility is directly connected to a network of 44 GPS signal receivers located worldwide, and can receive data from several hundred others.

These receivers monitor signals from GPS satellites and relay them to just a handful of highly specialised processing centres, including ESOC's Navigation Facility. These in turn process the raw data into valuable atmospheric and geoscience information sets.

Calculating, predicting GPS orbit data

The Navigation Facility's cornerstone geoscience service consists of calculating and predicting GPS satellite orbits in near real-time every three hours.

Based on these orbit solutions, highly accurate timing corrections are computed every 15 minutes for all active GPS satellites and for all ground receivers. The most precise orbit solutions, including those from ESOC, are on the order of 3 cm, with a corresponding clock offset accuracy on the order of 0.1 ns (nanosecond).

This enhanced data can then be used to boost the accuracy of the original location data sent by the satellites, leading to enhanced GNSS applications for scientific studies, climate monitoring and tracking large-scale, long-term changes in the Earth's geology.

Navigation Facility consolidates ongoing work

While ESA's facility is new, this work has been ongoing for over a decade within ESOC's Navigation Support Office through participation in the International GNSS Service (IGS, formerly the International GPS Service).

IGS analysis centres, which include ESOC, Germany's GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ) and the University of Bern, among others, make their processed data sets available to a growing user community, including national weather offices, satellite operators, universities, geoscience institutes and researchers worldwide.

10-07-2006 Cracking top secret satellite codes

Researchers have cracked the so-called pseudo random number (PRN) codes of Europe’s first global navigation satellite, despite efforts to keep it under wraps.

Sat-nav can support the driver on the most remote roads.

Cornell University’s Global Positioning System (GPS) laboratory discovery is a breakthrough for those who use navigation devices.

It means free access for sat-nav devices that rely on PRN’s to work, including handheld receivers and the systems installed in vehicles.

The codes and the methods taken to extract them were published in the June issue of GPS World.

Originally, GPS satellites were put into orbit by the US Department of Defense as part of a joint venture of the European Union, European space Agency and private investors.

GIOVE-A (Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element-A) is Europe's answer to the United States' GPS, most commonly known as Galileo.

While the US equivalent of GPS is free, Galileo must make money to reimburse its investors.

Due to Galileo and GPS sharing bandwidths, however, Europe and the United States signed an agreement whereby some of Galileo's PRN codes must be open source.

However, none of GIOVE-A’s codes have been public since its first signals on 12 January 2006.

Much disagreement has resulted in the status of the PRN codes and in late January, Mark Psiaki, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Cornell and co-leader of Cornell's GPS Laboratory, requested the codes from Martin Unwin at Surrey space Technologies Ltd, one of three privileged groups in the world with the PRN codes.

"In a very polite way, he said, 'Sorry, goodbye,'" recalled Psiaki.

Next Psiaki contacted Oliver Montenbruck, a friend and colleague in Germany, and discovered that he also wanted the codes.

"Even Europeans were being frustrated," said Psiaki. "Then it dawned on me: maybe we can pull these things off the air, just with an antenna and lots of signal processing."

Psiaki’s team developed a basic algorithm to extract the codes within one week, and two weeks later, they received their first signal from the satellite.

Full Article

10-07-2006 More Competition for GPS

July 10, 2006: India will spend $370 million to build and launch eight satellites to provide a regional GPS system. This will give people one more alternative, in addition to GPS, GLONASS (Russia) and Galileo (Europe). Next year, India will spend $80 million to equip a satellite with technology that will provide enhanced GPS service in India. This system. GAGAN (GPS aided geo augmentation navigation), will then be followed by India's own version of GPS. India is trying to get commercial firms for participate in the project, with both technology and money. Apparently, the project won't go forward if the private sector does not respond enthusiastically enough. India not the only one building their own GPS. China is planning a similar regional system. Russia's answer to GPS, GLONASS, was at full strength (24 satellites) shortly after the Cold War ended (1995). But the end of the Cold War meant the end of the regular financing for GLONASS. By the end of 2002, only seven GLONASS birds were still operational. However, a series of launches in 2003 increased the number of active satellites to twelve, and it is supposed to go to 18 by the end of 2007, and the full 24 birds a year or two after that. The money is coming from a Russian government that does not want to be dependent on the American Department of Defense controlled GPS system. But the money is only there because of high oil prices. Most GLONASS receivers in use are actually combined GPS/GLONASS receivers. Russia will have to put billions of dollars into GLONASS over the next few years to get the system fully operational, and then spend even more money to maintain the satellite network. Worse yet, no one has found a way to make a buck off a network of navigation satellites. There are plenty of ideas, but no one has yet turned any of those ideas into cash. A European consortium is going forward with it's own version of GPS, called Galileo. So far, only two satellites have been launched, although the original plan called for four to be up there by now, to provide a sufficient number of birds for a test system. If there are no problems with the test system, the full array of 27 satellites will be launched and operational some time in the next decade. The system will cost nearly $3 billion when completed, and the fifteen nations of the European Space Agency (ESA) have put in about a hundred million dollars already. The Europeans don't like being dependent on an American system, and don't believe the Russians will be able to keep their GLONASS system viable.

Full Article

GPS World Article
We live in a world of ideas. Some philosophers and playwrights might hold that we ourselves are ideas, walking shadows that strut and fret their hour upon the stage, alleged in our own minds. But let that pass, let it pass. Global positioning, navigation, and timing by satellite is a great idea. There's been some noise lately about just who had it first, or who was most responsible for bringing it to fruition. I doubt the debate is useful going forward, but history has its place ? and its own ideas. See "Who Invented the Global Positioning System?" at www.thespacereview.com/article/626/1.Mike Sheldrick's column in July's LBS Insider relates rival claims to a point'n click service offered in Japan. With a GPS and a digital compass in a cell phone, the user can point the phone at an object — a building, for instance — and the phone returns detailed information about that object. The New York Times gushingly dubbed this "a divining rod for the information age."Another company has asserted its ownership of the idea for a content delivery platform that enables users to point a wireless phone or other mobile device at a building, landmark, or point. It cited installations at the University of Maine and Colonial Williamsburg, duly covered in our March 2006 issue.A third company downloads to cell phones of users standing in front of a property the prices of recently sold homes nearby. Each application uses GPS.The difference between this clash of concepts and that over system origin is that these folks seek to make money from their creations. Aha. For this purpose was invented another great idea, probably by lawyers: the patent. Each company can quickly enumerate its patent portfolio.
Full Article

Galileo gets a Chinese overlay

Galileo originated as a “Euro-nationalist” response to the success of America’s GPS. As the program developed, some in Europe sought to use it as a way to limit and control US military power. This was the heart of the transatlantic “frequency overlay” dispute that ended with the EU backing down. The Europeans had registered certain frequencies with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), that were dangerously close to the ones the US planned to use for the future military GPS 3 signal. They were hoping that the Pentagon would have to accept that the use of this signal would be regulated by a joint US-EU committee in which the EU, particularly France, would have a veto power over US satellite navigation warfare. In essence, the European goal was to insure that if the US went to war against the will of the EU, it would do so without the advantages that its GPS system has given it.

Today, the Chinese are attempting to do to the Galileo system the same thing that Europe tried, and failed, to do to the US. China has registered with the ITU its intent to use frequencies that are as close to Galileo’s as Galileo’s were planned to be to GPS 3. The speculation is that this is the Chinese response to the European refusal to allow China into the charmed circle of senior Galileo management.

China was brought into the program as a distinctly junior partner. This may have been done as an anti-American gesture, or it may have been that some European leaders truly thought that they could use China’s membership in Galileo to gain some sort of privileged commercial position in the Middle Kingdom’s huge and expanding market. In any case, China’s contribution to the program was never going to be a policymaking one.

For Europe, Galileo may yet turn into a technological triumph, but the odds are getting longer.
For the Chinese the goals were simple: launch as may Galileo satellites on their Long March boosters as possible and, above all, gain technological and scientific insight into what it takes to build an independent, up-to-date, space-based positioning, navigation, timing system. The Beidou system that they now have is clumsy and, while it may have a role in guiding long-range missiles, it lacks the multipurpose military utility of GPS, Russia’s GLONASS, or, perhaps eventually, Galileo. Now that the Europeans have decided that China cannot be promoted to full membership in their program, China has no good reason to continue to accept a minor role.

For Europe, the question is how will they react to China’s latest move. Can they put pressure on China the same way the US did to them over their overlay ploy? They do not have a formal military alliance with China, and their commercial clout is limited. They would find it difficult to offer to lift the post-Tiananmen ban on sales of military equipment in spite of the decision a few years ago to “in principal” resume arms sales. In theory they could threaten to sell weapons to Taiwan. Taipei would certainly be happy to buy more submarines from Germany, France, or Sweden. If the Europeans can credibly threaten this, it may be the only card they really have.Full Article

August 2006 Europe's satellite positioning system edges forward

Construction of a new satellite navigation system, Galileo, came a step closer to realization Monday when the two bidders for the contract to build and operate it submitted a common proposal. Their move could end months of indecision at the body set up to select a preferred bidder, which has so far been unable to choose between the two consortia. Construction of a new satellite navigation system, Galileo, came a step closer to realization Monday when the two bidders for the contract to build and operate it submitted a common proposal. Their move could end months of indecision at the body set up to select a preferred bidder, which has so far been unable to choose between the two consortia.
Similar to the U.S. GPS (Global Positioning System), Galileo will transmit signals from a constellation of satellites, enabling handheld terminals on the ground to calculate their position, wherever they are in the world.The two bidding consortia, Eurely and iNavSat, have submitted a joint proposal on the main elements of the project, said Hans Peter Marchlewski, general counselor for Galileo Joint Undertaking, the body set up by the European Commission and the European Space Agency to select a preferred bidder.

The group is evaluating the joint proposal, which could be accepted if the consortia can show it will offer better value than their individual bids, Marchlewski said. The joint proposal is not a full bid, the documents for which would run to several thousand pages, he said.

Eurely and iNavSat will have to wait until June 27 to find out whether their new proposal is accepted, he said.

Eurely&apos;s members are Aeropuertos Espa&apos;oles y Navegaci&apos;n A&apos;rea (AENA), Alcatel SA, Finmeccanica SpA and Hispasat SA, while iNavSat comprises European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. EADS NV (EADS Space), Inmarsat Ventures Ltd. and Thales SA.With their joint proposal, the consortia say they can deliver the project at a lower cost, yet still have it ready on time. Galileo is due to enter service in 2008.The Commission and the ESA are together advancing around &apos;1.1 billion (US$1.3 billion) of the &apos;3.2 billion they expect it will cost to develop Galileo. The system has found supporters outside of Europe too: The National Remote Sensing Center of China (NRSCC) has said it will contribute &apos;200 million to Galileo&apos;s development.Conceived for civilian applications, Galileo is intended to free European businesses from dependence on a military system controlled by a foreign government. There is no risk to users that service will suddenly be withdrawn or encrypted in case of conflict, its backers say. While the basic Galileo signals will be free for all, additional encrypted signals will provide a higher level of service for a fee, which will allow its operators to repay the money advanced by the Commission and the ESA.Galileo is intended to cooperate, rather than compete, with GPS: The U.S. and the European Union signed an agreement in 2004 to make the systems interoperable. Full ARticle

Ready for the future

The boom in Indian aviation, so far, synonymous with extremely low-cost fares and a wide bouquet of carriers to choose from has had its downside as well — complete chaos prevailing at majority of the airports, not to mention the inordinate delays in landings and takeoffs. But thanks to relentless efforts being undertaken by Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) along with their technology partnerson the ground as well as in the skies could soon be a thing of the past.
An indigenous satellite-based regional GPS augmentation system is being put in place to meet the aviation industry’s emerging needs in a broad spectrum of areas like communication, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management. Better known as space-based augmentation system (SBAS) or GAGAN – GPS and GEO Augmented Navigation, it will be operational by 2008. The system would be part of the satellite-based communications, navigation and surveillances /air traffic management plan for civil aviation.
At the Farnborough Air Show last week, ISRO’s technology partner, Raytheon Company, announced the completion of the preliminary system acceptance test for the GPS-aided GEO Augmented Navigation-Technology Demonstration System (GAGAN-TDS) for aircraft navigation. The GAGAN-TDS programme consisted of a monitor and control centre and a land uplink station in Bangalore and reference stations in eight locations in India. This is the first phase of the project to implement the space-based navigation system in the Indian airspace, Raytheon vice-president Andy Zogg said. In the next phase, Raytheon will work with ISRO to integrate the ground elements to a geosynchronous satellite. The first major milestone in the programme, say ISRO officials, is slated to be the launch of the first navigation payload (now under fabrication) on the GSAT-4 satellite, which is expected to be launched during 2006-07. The Rs 300-crore GAGAN system is part of a global initiative endorsed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to help civil aircraft’s transition to satellite-based signals. With technology support from Raytheon, it would be implemented in three phases — the TDS, initial experimental phase and final operational phase. While ISRO will be involved in driving the project, AAI will provide the requisite financial, technical manpower and all the other supplementary support for the project. Currently, the European Union is working on the euro 3.2-billion project Galileo, while Russia is pursuing GLONASS, both based on a constellation of satellites. So far, AAI had been using GPS constellation solely for airport cartography application but in future, GPS will be used for surveillance and navigation purpose. However, the PSU is committed to provide SBAS over Indian airspace as per communication, navigation, surveillance /air traffic management plan envisaged by ICAO, inform AAI officials. At present, the Indian airspace is falling between coverage area of European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System (EGNOS) on the West and Multi Functional Transport Satellites (MTSAT) Satellite-Based Augmentation System (MSAS) (Japan) on the East. To bridge the gap between the coverage areas of EGNOS and MSAS, and to facilitate seamless navigation to the aircraft from West-East and vice-versa, GAGAN was a requirement, inform ISRO officials. Full Article




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