First Galileo IOV Satellite Producing Full Spectrum of Signals

January 3, 2012  - By
Galileo team at Redu receiving signals.

Europe’s first Galileo satellite appears to be functioning as expected, transmitting test signals received by the European Space Agency’s ground station in Redu, Belgium, across the whole of its assigned radio spectrum, ESA reports.
The first two Galileo satellites were launched by Soyuz from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on October 21. They are currently in the midst of a rigorous campaign to check that their highly sophisticated navigation payloads are operating as planned, unaffected by the strains of launch.

Testing is centered on the first Galileo satellite for now, and expected to progress to the second satellite early in the new year.

The Galileo system offers various groups of users a total of 10 different modulated signals across three spectral bands, known as E1, E5 and E6. The weekend before Christmas, all Galileo signals were activated simultaneously across these bands for the first time, following the switch-on and outgassing — warming up to vent potentially harmful vapours — of power amplifiers in the remaining E6 band.

The signals were received by Galileo Test User Receivers deployed at the Redu ground station, within Belgium’s Ardennes forest, as well as by identical receivers at ESA’s Navigation Laboratory, in ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

These test receivers work in the same way as operational receivers will once Galileo begins its initial services in 2014. They are capable of processing the Open Service, Commercial Service and Safety-of-Life Service signals from the Galileo constellation.

Galileo combines multi-frequency signals with the most accurate atomic clock ever flown in space for navigation, accurate to one second in three million years, ESA said. Its signals should open up a large number of commercial applications by combining this accuracy with the increased reliability of dual- or triple-frequency measurements. Receiver developers can choose among the variety of Galileo signals on offer to meet the needs of their customers in the most efficient way. They can also combine the processing of Galileo signals with GPS or Russian GLONASS signals to offer more robust positioning information in challenging environments such as city center urban canyons.

First Galileo triple band signals. (Click to enlarge.)

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