Feeds

Second Galileo test sat now in orbit

GIOVE-B lifts off after long delays

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The second test satellite for Europe's planned Galileo satnav constellation went into orbit at the weekend. The GIOVE-B (Galileo In Orbit Validation Element B) satellite took off aboard a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on Saturday.

The GIOVE sats are intended to prove the technology which will be used in the operational Galileo birds in coming years, and the testbeds also keep hold of the programme's frequency slots. GIOVE-A is already in orbit, and after serious delays to GIOVE-B a backup spacecraft, GIOVE-A2, was ordered from Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) - builder of GIOVE-A and poster-child of the fledgling UK space industry.

SSTL has now been bought by EADS Astrium, the continental aerospace behemoth which built GIOVE-B.

The Galileo programme now seems certain to go ahead, after a prolonged and painful shift from partly-private financing of the construction to public funds taken from unspent EU farm subsidies. This money would normally have been returned to donor nations, with the UK, Germany and the Netherlands as the biggest three. London MPs have expressed doubt as to whether the UK will receive value for the money it will pay, but have acknowledged that the British government doesn't actually have any choice about Galileo under EU funding rules.

Galileo is expected to offer some tech advantages over the existing American GPS, though the US can be expected to catch up in time as new generations of GPS become operational. It will be possible for many future civilian users to make use of both sat fleets simultaneously, thus getting much better coverage.

Formerly, Galileo was to be a guaranteed service - unlike GPS, which the US military can turn off in such areas and times as it chooses. However, it seems possible that in fact Brussels will want to retain a Galileo off-switch as an EU policy tool. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
Vote now for LOHAN's stirring mission patch motto
Does the shed actually know no bounds, or what?
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.