Two new satellites for Europe’s Galileo system

In August following a failure now, succeeded to increase the number of satellites for the European navigation system Galileo on twelve. In a few days, the German Operations Center assumes the fine positioning. Already, companies that develop Navis can test how they deal with the satellite signals.

With Adriana and lame the number of Galileo satellite has risen now to twelve. A Russian Soyuz rocket brought two weighing 715 kg spacecraft now from the European Space Centre (ESA) in Kourou, French Guiana in South America on 23.222 km-high orbit around the Earth. “This year was that so far most successful for Galileo, because the number of Galileo satellites in the space of six to twelve was doubled by three satellite launches,” René Kleeßen, Galileo program manager at the German Air Center in Raumfahrt.

new satellite for Europe's Galileo system
In transport containers: The Galileo satellites Andriana and Liene upon arrival at the European space station Kourou. Photo: ESA / CNES / Adrianespace / CSG / S.Martin

It could have been eight new satellites

Almost there were eight this year. But weakened, the Soyuz rocket, which should bring the satellite into space Milena and Danny on August 20. A fuel line was frozen, so that the two instead of a circular on an elliptical orbit are traveling. After all, they can still use to support a part of the general theory of relativity by Albert Einstein. 2016 the number of positioned Galileo satellite is expected to increase even faster. Ariane rockets are transported in one fell swoop, five in all, a total of 30 satellites are.

Atomic clocks on Galileo board  network.

The satellite, which has built the Bremen company OHB system have highly accurate detailed atomic clocks on board. They send their time signal continuously towards Earth. There, it is received by devices that correspond to the today’s Navis. On hand of at run time of the signals from multiple satellites and their position the terrestrial receiver calculates its position and much more accurate than the American global positioning system GPS and the Russian GLONASS – Chinese Beidou system.

 The Galileo system is based on a constellation of 30 navigation satellites in the full expansion.
The Galileo system is based on a constellation of 30 navigation satellites in the full expansion.

During the first ten days, the French space agency CNES controls the satellites on a provisional position. Then, the Galileo control centre near Munich leads them on their final positions. “We have intensively prepared the acquisition of new satellites in the past few months and are well equipped for the tasks,” says Walter Päffgen, Managing Director of the society for aerospace applications of the DLR, which operates the Center.

Galileo is simulated in five gates

by 2020, Galileo is to go into operation. Preparations to use are already underway. In Germany, there are five so-called gates, regions in which so-called Pseudolites broadcasting Galileo signals. A Pseudolite consists of a Galileo signal generator and an antenna that is mounted in an exposed site. With this arrangement, companies that manufacture receiver, to test how well they work and how to optimize them.

The gates are in Rostock port, DLR research airport on a highway test track in Siersdorf near Aachen. There are consequences of the action series “Alarm for Cobra 11” be turned – and on the Siemens train test site in Wegberg.