Test satellite makes contact...
A test satellite for the European Galileo programme, Giove-B, has successfully transmitted radio signals which will one day be used as the basis for satellite navigation in Europe.
Galileo is a joint project between the EU and European Space Agency (ESA) to provide a comprehensive European sat-nav system, which will eventually replace the US military GPS network.
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Giove-B became the second Galileo test satellite to be put into orbit on 27 April. It was carried into space by the Soyuz-Fregat rocket which launched from Kazakhstan.
As well as showing that the satellite is transmitting, the signal also allows ESA to test the user receivers.
ESA can monitor the signal spectrum coming from the satellite in real-time to measure performance, including signal power and bandwidth.
Galileo project manager, Javier Benedicto, said the successful signal transmission is a true representation of the advanced satellite positioning services Galileo will be able to offer.
The satellite is transmitting a combined GPS and Galileo signal as stipulated in an agreement struck between the EU and US in July 2007.