The constellation of the 30 Galileo satellites, their navigation of precision and the notion of the time that creates are some of the keys of the future for Europeans, their societies, companies and economy
The sixth scientific symposium on the essential aspects of GNSS and the Galileo Program , conference of the ESA (European Space Agency) has not disappointed.
Javier Ventura-Traveset , general chairman of the symposium and head of the Galileo Science Office of ESA, recalls that «Galileo’s way of working is based on the calculation of distances between the user and a minimum number of satellites in visibility , whose position is known, so that, by triangulation, its final position can be established. The distances between the receiver and the satellites are obtained by measuring the transmission time of a reference signal from the satellite to the receiver. “
Your contributions today reach the car and the smartphone. At the user level, the data is extraordinary, continues Ventura-Traveset. “It is estimated that there are already almost 6,000 million satellite navigation receivers operating in the world. In 2020 or 2021, the number of recipients will equal the number of people worldwide. “
Satellite navigation, and the Galileo system in particular, will strongly affect our lives (40,000 identified applications) and companies because ” virtually all sectors of the economy are impacted by satellite navigation. Knowing where you are and what time it is, with total accuracy, affects most human activities. And that is exactly what Galileo offers, an extremely precise system of positioning and time on a global scale , in an open and free way, “says the head of the Galileo Science Office.
Stocks are bought and sold over time and, today, a High Frequency software (HF Trading) is capable of performing 2,000 transactions per second , each with its time allocation. Galileo creates its own ‘notion of time’, the ‘Galileo time’ , with worldwide coverage.
“Among the services of time, in addition to those of a scientific nature, there are very pragmatic ones, such as financial applications. In finance it is very important to know when a money has entered or left a bank account or the exact moment when you have bought or sold an action. And all that, in huge amounts, to be able to measure it in nanoseconds [the billionth of a second], makes a big difference, “says Ventura-Traveset.
“We are also analyzing the possibilities of having a ‘legal time’ at the global level , that is, having legal guarantees, which can be of extraordinary utility, not only for people but, above all, for companies. Because the passage of time, measured in microseconds or nanoseconds, can change the value, for example, of shares in the stock market. When you apply this to very large quantities, the impact is extraordinary, “he adds.
Mobility and aviation
In what will Galileo intervene in decisive world areas such as tourism or transport ?, “With respect to aviation, at the moment, Europe has its own satellite navigation system, the EGNOS system, which corrects the GPS, providing it” integrity service ‘, which in turn allows the landing of aircraft with performance equivalent to that of an instrumental ILS [Instrument Landing System] category 1 landing system, even at night, in non-visible landings, up to a decision height 200 feet [about 60 meters] », explains the head of Galileo.
EGNOS is operational for civil aviation since 2011, the year in which the system was formally certified. «We are already working on the second generation of the EGNOS system , which will include, in addition to GPS, the integrity associated with the Galileo constellation, with which we will have a service with a robustness that will allow us to reach availability above 99.9%», says Ventura-Traveset. “All this will be of great importance for the future of tourism, business and aviation transport worldwide”.
In the initial plan of the Galileo Program there was talk of a global market related to geo-positioning and satellite navigation of 330,000 million euros . The investment to deploy Galileo has been made by the European Union and already generates high returns, in the form of boosting economic activity on a large scale and creating high quality jobs.
“Approximately 7% of European GDP depends, in one way or another, on the availability of a satellite navigation system. That is to say, if we did not have Galileo and only GPS existed, and we were denied that service to Europe, 7% of our economy would be affected and that is a huge economic amount that justifies having technological independence in this very strategic sector “, it states.
In addition, European investment in Galileo has a huge multiplier effect. An example: the tele-toll for the massive suppression of physical tolls. «Another example, cars manufactured in the EU as of April 2018, in response to the eCall regulation of the European Council , should be able to report their position in case of an accident, automatically calling 112 and using Galileo to geolocate . This type of services will have an extraordinary social impact ».
Roberto Prieto , Senior R & D Engineer for Satellite Navigation at ESA, describes other contributions presented at the symposium, such as “a new technique to determine forest biomass in situ in a non-destructive way using Galileo and the rest of GNSS systems with a lot of precision; also methods for, with one of the Galileo signals, the E5, which has a large bandwidth, to obtain synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images, able to represent with a very interesting spatial resolution, less than one meter and map well characteristics of the terrain, even if there is no optical vision ».
Also systems that by means of reflectometry of Galileo signals, with which it is possible to determine average altitude of the surface of seas and oceans without using dedicated altimeters which means an enormous saving. And also to determine with great precision the humidity of the earth, or new techniques to optimize applications, like the new agriculture of precision ».
INNOVADORES has also pressed the opinion of the local hosts, for example with Vicente E. Boria, general co-chairman of the International Colloquium on GNSS / Galileo, and co-director of the ESA-VSC High Power RF Laboratory that ESA has at the UPV , and president of the executive commission of the Valencian Space Consortium (VSC).
“First of all, the election by ESA of the Valencia Symposium (and the UPV’s CPI) has been a source of pride.” A choice that we believe is the result of the well-done laboratory jointly managed by ESA and VSC, and of the The UPV’s good scientific and technical trajectory in space matters has allowed us to show attendees the large number of relevant activities and outstanding laboratories such as the Photonics Center or the iTeam, which already collaborate from the UPV with the space sector, “he says.
For his part, David Argilés, managing director of the Valencian Space Consortium, points out that “almost twenty innovative European, Spanish and Valencian companies from the aerospace sector have come to maximize the transfer of knowledge.” In particular, it is crucial to take advantage of all instruments shipped in GNSS satellites, especially in the European Galileo fleet, not only for its main mission of navigation, but also for many other applications aimed at businesses and the better understanding of society about the environment of the planet From the laboratories of the Valencian Space Consortium and ESA, we have intensively engaged in this and in the validation of technologies shipped in the first generation of Galileo satellites that are being put into orbit these days.We are already supporting the development of new technologies that will be incorporated in the second generation of Galileo satellites. “