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UK achieves first live position fix using current Galileo constellation

14 July 2013

Europe’s Galileo project has taken a further step in providing superior satellite navigation to UK public services using its PRS signals.

An artist's impression of a Galileo satellite (image: ESA)
An artist's impression of a Galileo satellite (image: ESA)

The UK has become the first independent EU Member State to achieve live position fixes using the secure Public Regulated Service (PRS) signals from the current constellation of Galileo navigation satellites. This was achieved by a QinetiQ team supporting the UK Space Agency and the Satellite Applications Catapult under the auspices of UK national PRS trialling activities.

Vital public service providers, such as the UK’s emergency services and key government departments, will soon have access to a more reliable system of satellite navigation, thanks to the greater level of resilience offered by Galileo’s PRS.

The positioning was achieved using the Galileo PRS Test User Receiver (PRS-TUR) jointly developed by QinetiQ and its Belgian partner Septentrio Satellite Navigation NV under a European Space Agency (ESA) contract.

For the reception test, the receiver was installed and operated by QinetiQ technical experts in its Secure Navigation laboratory in Malvern. Positioning accuracy of around 10m was achieved, deemed 'excellent' for a first test so early in the system’s deployment.

This latest achievement builds on the successful completion of the UK Space Agency’s first phase of UK PRS Pilot projects in areas covering end-to-end security, key management, novel PRS service delivery models and PRS receivers for government and military applications.

PRS is one of the key Galileo services which offers a higher level of integrity and resilience for sensitive applications and government use.

Galileo is a civil system, meaning that this kind of reliability and integrity will eventually be made available to a wide range of non-military and military approved users across government functions and applications in critical infrastructure including telecoms, transport, finance and public utilities.

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