A Helicopter Flight Over A Special Alpine Valley: The “Galileo Valley…”
- A helicopter recently flew over a very special Alpine valley to gather data on how Europe’s two satellite navigation systems – EGNOS and Galileo – will work together in future.
- The helicopter flew a variety of maneuvers, from fast loops to mid-air hovering, to see how satnav signals were received in practice. The promising results are now being analysed.
- The airborne testing, which took place in Germany on 24–26 September, was based around prototype signals of the next generation of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service – EGNOS – combined with simulated Galileo signals.
- EGNOS, the first pan-European satellite navigation system, works by sharpening the accuracy of US GPS signals.
(The (GATE) in Berchtesgaden amid the Bavarian Alps is a test range equipped with Galileo-like transmitters placed in high points for testing in advance of this European GNSS system becoming operational. / Credits: IFEN)
Galileo Satellites Provide Basic Navigational Services…
- The first four Galileo satellites have been placed in orbit – the minimum needed to provide basic navigational services. It will take many more to provide global coverage.
- But there is one place in Europe where full (European) navigation service coverage is already a reality: the town of Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps has transmitters atop eight neighboring mountain peaks to blanket 65 sq km of territory with satnav signals.
- The result is the Galileo Test and Development Environment – GATE – a giant outdoor laboratory where prototype Galileo receivers can be used freely without any modifications.
(Receiving equipment on the helicopter picking up EGNOS and simulated Galileo/signals during testing at the Galileo/ Test and Development Environment – GATE – a giant outdoor laboratory around Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps where prototype satellite receivers can be used freely without any modifications. Transmitters atop eight neighbouring mountain peaks blanket 65 sq km of territory with satnav signals. Credits: ESA – S. Corvaja /)
- Kept busy by European industrial and research teams, GATE is owned by the DLR German Aerospace Center. ESA’s Global Navigation Satellite Systems for Europe (GNSS) Evolution program uses it to help prepare the design of next-generation systems.Receiving Simultaneous
Real-Time Signals For Both GPS & Galileo…
- The helicopter testing relied on the SPEED platform – Support Platform for EGNOS Evolutions & Demonstrations – enabling a user to receive simultaneous real-time augmentation signals for both GPS and the European Navigation Satellite System, in the same way that the intended next-generation EGNOS system will operate.
(The US GPS global satellite navigation system has an accuracy of 5–10 m. Across our continent that accuracy is greatly sharpened to 1-2 m through the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), an operational precursor to Europe’s up-coming global satnav system. EGNOS broadcasts augmented information through a trio of geostationary satellites linked to a network of monitoring ground stations. Credits: ESA /)
Evolving EGNOS + Galileo…
- The ESA-designed EGNOS employs a trio of satellites, processing facilities and a network of ground stations to improve the accuracy of GPS satnav signals over European territory.
- The service is guaranteed to an extremely high level of reliability set by the International Civil Aviation Organization: it is allowed just a one in 10 million chance of error.
- The satellite-based service provides horizontal and vertical guidance information for aircraft performing safety-critical landing approaches to airports in a similar way to existing Instrument Landing System devices – but with no local ground-based navigation infrastructure needed.
- “EGNOS is already certified for European aviation but what we are testing here is how it operates with Galileo,” explained Guenter Hein, head of ESA’s GNSS Evolution program.
- “We are seeking to develop the next generation of EGNOS, which should be ready and operational around 2020.
- “The ambition for Europe is to have an EGNOS-like system able to manage the data coming from both Galileo and GPS, making the system much more robust.
- It will be an important part of a constellation of EGNOS-like satellite augmentation systems covering our entire planet.”
- GNSS Evolution is also tasked with designing the next generation of more advanced Galileo satellites, proceeding on the basis that the first generation of satellites will need replacement in the course of the 2020s.
(One of Eurocontrol’s EGNOS pioneers, this Aurigny Airlines Trislander can perform EGNOS-guided approaches using runway procedures published for Southampton Airport in the UK and Alderney Airport in the Channel Islands. This activity took place through the partnership of the UK’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS), Aurigny Airlines and Anglo Normandy Engineering, with the support of the UK Civil Aviation Authority and the States of Guernsey. Credits: Eurocontrol / )
Sun-Sentinel, on Wed, 24 Oct 2012 14:03:05 -0700
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AZoSensors, on Wed, 24 Oct 2012 05:33:16 -0700
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