Next Generation Galileo Satellites to Transform Navigation Speed and Accuracy

The G2 satellites will feature a new, powerful navigation antenna 1 photo
Photo: ESA
Europe’s civil satellite navigation constellation, Galileo, which is currently the world’s most precise satnav system, is about to get even more impressive. The Galileo Second Generation (G2) satellites promise to increase navigation accuracy even more, as well as navigation speed, which could revolutionize positioning capabilities of future devices.
Second Generation Galileo satellites will join the 26 first generation ones, which are in orbit today, plus the 12 “Batch 3” satellites that are currently in production and expected to launch later this year. Thales Alenia Space (Italy) and Airbus Defense & Space (Germany) were awarded contracts for the G2 satellites, by the European Space Agency (ESA), on behalf of the European Commission.

So, what exciting innovations do the G2 satellites bring? Well, in terms of technology, they will be the first to use electric propulsion. This will allow 2 satellites to be launched at the same time, even though they will also be much heavier than the existing ones. And, they are also built with fully digital payloads, which are more flexible and can be reconfigured in orbit, to be able to respond on the spot to evolving requirements.

The G2’s main asset is its “unprecedented precision”, which will take the current meter-scale accuracy to a decimeter-scale. Its new powerful navigation antenna will also help navigation devices acquire signal much faster, while also using less power. This enhanced positioning capability could become a major factor in further developing autonomous cars and unmanned vehicles.

And that’s not all. G2 satellites will also feature a new emergency communications capability, which will allow authorities to send out warnings anywhere on Earth, in case of imminent dangers, such as natural disasters. Plus, the satellites will be able to help with search and rescue operations.

Besides new and improved capabilities, the G2 satellites will also feature enhanced jamming and spoofing protection mechanisms.

Work on the Second Generation Galileo satellites is set to begin soon, and they are expected to be launched in less than 4 years.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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