by Staff Writers
Madrid, Spain (SPX) Nov 14, 2011
GMV, one of the main companies contracted to establish and support Europe's satellite navigation strategy, continues to play a key role in the most recent phase of the Galileo program. GMV successfully supported the launch of the first two completely operational satellites in the Galileo program, kicking off the deployment stage of Europe's satellite navigation system on Friday, October 21.
A second pair of satellites is set to be launched next year, completing the design and validation stage of the Galileo system. These will be followed in turn by the rest of the satellites in the coming years until the completion of the constellation.
GMV leads the development of the items responsible for final system performance. Galileo has been divided into two phases; the first, In-Orbit Validation (IOV), and the second, Full Operational Capability (FOC), which aims to complete the ground and space infrastructure developed during the first phase.
Galileo FOC kicks off with an intermediate four-year phase, 18-satellite phase (building up to between 24 and 30 by the final phase) with 24 reference stations (building up to between 30 and 40 in the final phase) and two control centers. It will initially provide three services: the open service, the public regulated service and the search and rescue service.
The other two services planned for the future are a commercial service and an integrity information service. GMV is participating in the ground mission segment and the ground control segment, carrying out a total of 4 projects: OSPF_FOC, MNE_FOC, SPF_FOC and FDF_FOC, all key elements within the system and part of the ongoing IOV phase.
GMV is also serving in a consulting capacity, both for the European Commission and the European Space Agency, as well as for other firms heavily involved in the final development of the system. The OSPF (Orbit and Synchronisation Processing Facility) forms part of the ground mission segment.
Acting as the "brain" of the Galileo system, it calculates the precise position of the Galileo satellites and synchronizes all the system's clocks, i.e. it generates the navigation message sent by the Galileo satellites.
The OSPF FOC project will implement some developments of the OSPF, manufacture some recurrent units and provide maintenance for the FOC and IOV units through March 2015. The MNE (MDDN Network equipment), also part of the ground mission segment, is the software component of the MDDN (Mission Data Dissemination Network).
It will provide the communication services between the control centers, the reference stations and the transmission stations. The SPF (Service Product Facility) provides the external interface between the ground mission segment and external users, facilitating the exchange of information between Galileo, users, service providers and other external systems, such as the GPS system.
Lastly, within the ground control segment, GMV is responsible for the Flight Dynamics Facility (FDF), which calculates the satellites' operational position and attitude and generates the necessary maneuvers to keep the satellites within the pre-established orbit and antenna-pointing parameters at all times.
The FDF FOC development contract covers the development and maintenance of the FDF system. This system will be installed in the two control centers, Oberpfaffenhofen (Germany) and Fucino (Italy), facilitating operational synchronization between both sites.
It will be capable of operating 18 constellation satellites from two different platforms. GMV is responsible for development, validation, preparation of the training courses for the operators and the corrective and evolutionary maintenance. Miguel Romay, GMV's GNSS Director considers this launch to be a historic event for Europe.
"After surmounting many political and managerial hurdles the Galileo program finally sees the light of day, demonstrating Europe's capacity for developing large-scale systems and playing a key role in today's society. Galileo will act as a driving force behind Europe's economic development and it is crucial to ensure that Spain's industry does not fall off the pace due to the current economic crisis in our country.
The Spanish government strongly supported the program at the end of the nineties, helping to create thousands of top-quality jobs; it is now important to recover the part being played by Spain's industry at that time," said Romay.
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In GPS case, US court debates '1984' scenario
Washington (AFP) Nov 8, 2011
The US Supreme Court delved Tuesday into the issue of privacy amid 21st century technology, hearing arguments on whether police can use a GPS device attached to a vehicle to track a suspect without a search warrant. The US government asked the justices to reinstate the conviction of Washington nightclub owner Antoine Jones for drug dealing which had been overturned by an appeals court which ... read more
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