This October 20, the first two operational satellites of the European Galileo navigation system will in principle be launched from Kourou in French Guyana. This new satellite navigation system will enable the achievement of superior performances in comparison to those currently produced by the American GPS system.
The University of Liège’s Geodesy and GNSS department, within the Geography department, possesses long experience in the field of satellite navigation systems both in teaching and research terms.
The term Global Navigation
Satellite Systems, or GNSS, designates the ensemble of satellite navigation
systems (GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, Compass, etc.). Obtaining an improved level of
precision thanks to Galileo has required the correction of a series of perturbations
which affect the signals emitted by satellites. In particular the ULg has
become specialised in the study of the effects of the atmosphere on the Galileo
signals. At the current time four doctorate theses being worked on at the ULg are
devoted to this subject. In effect phenomena such as solar flares, a
geomagnetic tempest or a violent storm can, in certain cases, strongly worsen
the precision and the reliability of the Galileo system. It is for that reason
that the ULg has decided to develop a research programme in this area.
A study published in November 2010 by the GNSS Supervisory Authority of the European Community predicts an annual growth of 11% in the sales figures generated by GNSS applications, to reach 165 billion Euros around the horizon of 2020. This increase in sales figures should go hand in hand with the creation of between 100,000 and 150,000 jobs in Europe. The economic development linked to the boom in GNSS also has implications in the area of university teaching. In effect the success of the commercial applications of GNSS can only be assured if the business companies concerned can recruit a qualified workforce which has appropriate training in GNSS. It is only on this condition that the creation of the jobs predicted by the European Community will take place. Yet it is clear that the menu of educational programmes in the field of GNSS in Europe and oddly in Belgium is particularly limited. Having made this observation the ULg has begun to develop a menu of specialised courses in this domain: it is in this case the only francophone Belgian university to offer the Masters in Geography – Geomatics and Geometrology orientation, and the teaching programmes in geomatics are integrated with those of the Masters in Space Sciences, another ULg exclusive within the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.
>>>> Read the article, Galileo, a European GPS, on the Reflexions website, which presents Benoît Bidaine’s research.