Airbus Defence and Space

Space in daily life All news

GIOVE-B celebrates two years in space

The Airbus Defence and Space-built navigation satellite has successfully completed its second year in orbit

This demonstration satellite is testing in orbit key technologies for the European navigation system Galileo.

On 27 April 2008, GIOVE-B was placed in the Galileo Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) by a Soyuz launcher from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Since the first signal transmission on 7 May 2008, GIOVE-B has been demonstrating the advanced navigation technology that will be necessary for the Galileo navigation satellite constellation.

GIOVE-B is the first satellite to carry a highly stable Space-Passive Hydrogen Maser (S-PHM) clock on-board. By exploiting the S-PHM’s unique timing stability – of an order of magnitude better than that currently flown in orbit – Airbus Defence and Space has been able to provide highly accurate navigation signals from space and demonstrate the basis for very accurate navigation in the near future. The clock performance and signal quality demonstrated on GIOVE-B is a technological step forward compared to GPS and other navigation systems, opening the door for practical new applications and services.

GIOVE-B has been transmitting the GPS-Galileo common signal for the first time, using a specific optimised waveform, MBOC (multiplexed binary offset carrier), in accordance with the agreement drawn up between the EU and the US for their respective systems – Galileo and the future GPS III. An independent and complementary service will therefore be possible for the user on the ground.

With GIOVE-B operating in orbit, for the first time users have a reliable reference source for verifying the signal interface in line with the ‘Signal-in-Space’ Interface Control Document (ICD) released by ESA to the Galileo user community.

During in-orbit and on-ground signal processing testing, the suitability and accuracy of the technology has been verified in the harsh radiation environment of the Galileo orbit, and thus GIOVE-B has demonstrated its unique performance and robustness to the user community.

Given the good health and performance of GIOVE-B, ESA has decided to extend its operations beyond the initial baseline, and Airbus Defence and Space will provide continued support for the duration of this extension.