European Space Agency Looks at 2020

European Space Agency (ESA) top brass welcomed journalists to the Agency’s headquarters in Paris for its annual New Year’s press launch. On hand was the Director General as well as ESA’s Galileo guru Paul Verhoef, who spoke one-on-one with Inside GNSS.

During his presentation to assembled journalists, ESA Director General Jan Woerner touched on a wide range of topics of interest to the Agency, from climate change to human exploration to budgetary matters and international cooperation, including a new agreement expected this year between ESA and the European Union.

About the European satellite navigation system, he said, “Galileo is operational, you can receive the Galileo data, and the accuracy, as I always hear, is three times better than the American GPS.” To his credit, Woerner made no effort to steer clear of what was perhaps the most memorable, if the most infamous event of the preceding navigation year, when the Galileo signal went missing for several days last July: “The Galileo incident of course we took very seriously,” he said, “together with the European Commission and also with the GSA [European GNSS Agency]. We have looked into the details to avoid such an event again.”

The microphone passed to ESA’s Director of Navigation Paul Verhoef, who said, “In terms of Galileo, successively over the next years we will reach full operational capabilities, depending on which service we are talking about. There is an infrastructure element, which is the completion of the constellation; currently we still have to add a few satellites in order to come to a full operational constellation. We will have a few reserves in orbit and then we already start replacing the first satellites.

Read more in Inside GNSS article.

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