The first payload that will be used for the Galileo satellite navigation system was shipped out from its factory in Portsmouth on Monday. This payload, which is known as Proto-flight Model 1, was sent out to Italy. This is where it will be prepared before being sent out into space.
The payload has been sent out to the Thales Alenia Space facility in Rome. This is where the entire payload is going to be tested and maintained prior to being sent out into space next year. The material will also be attached to a large spacecraft chassis that will work to handle the entire payload as it is in space.
This is an important piece of technology news simply because of what Proto-flight Model 1 is going to do for the Galileo project. It will work to transmit time and location information to people who use the system on the ground.
This model is one that is in a box that is 1.5 by 1.5 by 3 metres in size. It works with a series of important technology items that will help to get the Galileo project to work properly. These include such things as signal generators, antennas, signal amplifiers and atomic clocks. This will work to help with sending information to users of the system on where something is and when a person can get there.
The main function that this payload is going to have comes from how it will work for the In-Orbit Validation system of the Galileo project. In this part of the project four spacecraft will be moving in a set pattern above Europe. A series of Full Operational Capacity spacecraft will then be added as a series of satellites for the entire process. There will be fourteen of these FOC satellites in total.
This is one of the most valuable pieces of technology news to come around in Europe in recent time. The Galileo project will be used to help with making it so that a GPS type of system can be used exclusively for countries around the European Union. It will work for civilians and will be provided by a local source instead of from another country.
The location and time data that can be used for different types of receivers will be improved as well. The Galileo system will be one that is going to work with accurate readings that are down to the second and metre.
There are a few concerns about this technology though. The security unit for this payload has yet to be completely set up. This is a necessity in that the unit will be used to encrypt signals so that different agencies can use them alongside the public.
As of now the main target date for this payload to be sent out into space is in the early part of 2011. Proto-flight Model 1 should be shipped out along with another model on a Soyuz rocket at the early part of the year. At this point the Galileo system will be put in effect.