compassion, collaboration & cooperation iN transistion
IF it were not for the precision measurement of
ALL the THINGS - which need to be measured
- that Professor Marcus du Sautoy has so eloquently elucidated in the first
episode of the BBC television series: Precision: The Measure of All Things
entitled - the story of the metre and the second - and HOW an
astonishing journey across revolutionary France gave birth to the metre,
and HOW scientists today are continuing to redefine the measurement of
time and length, with extraordinary results - the complimentary creation
of the Galileo Satellite Navigation System - a European version of the
US Global Positioning System (GPS) - would not have got off the ground -
because its success is entirely due to the fact that the Galileo system
is driven by the most accurate atomic clocks thus far invented,
manufactured and launched into space.
Galileo services will come with quality and integrity guarantees which mark
the key difference of this first complete civil positioning system from the
military systems that have come before.
The skies above Europe are becoming increasingly congested, as are
Europe’s major airports. This growth in air traffic means smaller airports
also need to be safely accessible at all times, which cannot be achieved by
relying solely on non-precision approaches.
Air Traffic management technologies also need to evolve from costly and
rigid ground based infrastructures to more advanced systems, based on
new technology. EGNOS already acts as an overlay to the US Global
Positioning System (GPS) and once it is integrated with the fully operational
capability of Galileo, pilots will be able to monitor hands-off fully
automatic landings with centi-metric accuracy.
enhanced vertical precision and integrity, improving safety, accessibility
and efficiency to operators, pilots and airports all over Europe - and
provide yet another tool in the evolving battle to challenge the effects
and consequences of climate change.
Galileo's range of services will be extended as the system is built up from
initial operational capability to reach Full Operational Capability (FOC)
by this decade’s end. The fully deployed Galileo system consists of 30
satellites (27 operational + 3 active spares), positioned in three circular
Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) planes at 23 222 km altitude above the Earth,
and at an inclination of the orbital planes of 56 degrees to the equator.
The four operational satellites launched so far - the basic minimum for
satellite navigation in principle - serve to validate the Galileo concept with
both segments: space and related ground infrastructure.
At this stage, The Open Service, Search and Rescue and Public Regulated
Service will be available with initial performances. Then as the constellation
is built-up beyond that, new services will be tested and made available to
reach Full Operational Capability (FOC).
Once this is achieved, the Galileo navigation signals will provide good
coverage even at latitudes up to 75 degrees north, which corresponds to
Norway's North Cape - the most northerly tip of Europe - and beyond.
The large number of satellites together with the carefully-optimised
constellation design, plus the availability of the three active spare satellites,
will ensure that the loss of one satellite has no discernible effect on the
and 2008 respectively, serving to test critical Galileo technologies, while
at the same time securing all of the Galileo frequencies within the
International Telecommunications Union.
Over the course of the test period, scientific instruments also measured
various aspects of the space environment around the orbital plane, in
particular the level of radiation, which is greater than in low Earth or
The four operational Galileo satellites launched in 2011 and 2012 built
upon this effort to become the operational nucleus of the full Galileo
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