Do you get excited by technology? Then you need to check out two projects from the European Space Agency. We know, we know — all of the space news usually revolves around NASA, but it’s time to look at things form a more global point of view. In this case, we’re going to focus in this guide almost completely on the ESA and some interesting projects going on. The two projects of note right now are EGNOS and Galileo, satellite navigation systems that help ships and planes alike navigate the environment in a smooth, controlled fashion.
If you’re familiar with GPS, then you already know that our phones, cars and other navigation devices use this satellite technology. You can see Galileo as simply an extension of existing technology. It is a system of four satellites that are focused on delivering more accurate positioning, down to the meter measure. It’s important to note that the Galileo project isn’t finished. Like GPS, this system will have 24 satellites orbiting in various locations, along with 6 spares in case there are any mechanical failures. These satellites are under civilian control, not military and have no weaponized system at all. They’re designed to help with navigation only. Galileo’s initial level of service should be in effect by the end of 2016, and completed fully by 2020.
These satellite systems don’t just hover in the air without any type of structure on the ground. That wouldn’t make sense. So there are control centers available to measure everything happening in the air. This affects the consumer market because as soon as the system begins to get in motion, the data will be accessible by virtually everyone, at least in read only format. This could allow many space enthusiasts to get a picture of where technology is going. It is presumed that there would be API frameworks in place to make use of this data, but that still remains to be seen.
So next time you’re looking up at the stars, just know that there are sophisticated technological wonders up there as well, and the data that they provide provides safety for thousands of people around the continent.