European Secured Navigation Arrives with Galileo PRS-only Positioning

June 28, 2013  - By

image001QinetiQ and Septentrio jointly announced today that a milestone in the Galileo European Navigation Satellite System’s development and deployment program has been achieved. On March 12, staff at the European Space Agency at ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, achieved the first navigation solution using only the encrypted Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS) signals broadcast by the four Galileo In-Orbit Validation (IOV) satellites launched in 2011 and 2012. Septentrio and QinetiQ, working in close partnership, developed one of the two PRS test user receivers used in this historic first test.

PRS positioning was achieved using the Galileo PRS Test User Receiver (TUR-P) jointly developed by Septentrio and QinetiQ under an ESA contract. For the reception test, the receiver was installed in the PRS test facility in ESTEC and operated by technical experts from ESA. Positioning accuracy of ~10 meters was achieved, excellent for a first test so early in the system’s deployment. The TUR-P now continues to be used as part of the campaigns running during the Galileo In Orbit Validation Phase.

This milestone builds on a number of previous major Septentrio/QinetiQ achievements including:

  • First laboratory demonstration of the PRS signal acquisition and tracking in QinetiQ (Malvern, UK, 2006).
  • Successful RF compatibility test between a Galileo payload and the TUR-P (Portsmouth, UK, 2010).
  • Successful Galileo end-to-end system test including the Galileo Ground Mission Segment (GMS) and its key management facilities, satellite and TUR- P (Rome, Italy, 2011).
  • First successful reception and processing of the PRS signal from space (Fucino, Italy, 2012).

As key, long-term contributors to the Galileo program, Septentrio and QinetiQ have worked closely with ESA, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) and European industrial partners since 2003.

“Following last year’s first successful reception and processing of PRS signals from Galileo satellites, I am very pleased to see the program moving forward successfully,” said Leo Quinn, CEO of QinetiQ. “Achieving a first PRS-only Galileo navigation solution is a major achievement. With positioning, navigation and timing services increasingly critical to the safety, security and economic activity of UK and our European neighbours QinetiQ are very proud to be contributing to the development of Europe’s first secured satellite navigation services.

“This milestone is another important step towards the launch of operational Galileo services and will continue to build confidence in both prospective users and the industrial supply base. It showcases QinetiQ’s capabilities in this field and signals the way towards the production of exciting new solutions for critical navigation and timing applications.”

“Today, together with our partners, we take another decisive step in the early availability of commercial PRS receivers and Septentrio is extremely proud of this historic milestone for the Galileo program,” commented Peter Grognard, Septentrio’s founder and CEO. “This builds on a list of major achievements for Septentrio since the reception of the first Galileo signal from space in 2006. We are delighted to continue the excellent collaboration with ESA and to contribute to this ambitious European project.”