Europe’s Galileo system has transmitted its very first test navigation signal back to Earth. The first two Galileo satellites were launched on 21 October.They are in the midst of their In-Orbit Test campaign.
The different Galileo signals are being activated and tested one by one. Soon after the payload power amplifiers were switched on and ‘outgassed’- warmed up to release vapours that might otherwise interfere with operations – the first test signal was transmitted in the early morning of Saturday 10 December by the first Galileo satellite. This signal was then captured at Redu where a detailed check-up is being carried out to ensure their payloads with no degradation from the launch.
The test signal was transmitted in the ‘E1’ band, which will be used for Galileo’s Open Service once the system begins initial operations in 2014.
The Open Service will be freely available to users all over the world. This signal is particularly important because it shares the ‘L1’ band of the US GPS navigation satellites.