Jason-2 moves to a new orbit to assume added role in mapping Earth’s mean sea surface elevation

Friday, 30 June 2017

The Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM)/Jason-2 mission marked its ninth year in orbit on 20 June. Designed to fly three to five years, Jason-2 has now completed more than 42,000 trips around our planet, contributing to a data base that dates back to the launch of the U.S./French TOPEX/Poseidon satellite in 1992.

Over the past nine years, Jason-2 has precisely measured the height of 95 percent of the world’s ice-free ocean every 10 days. Since its launch in June 2008, it has measured a 4 centimetre increase in global mean sea level, which has been rising at an average rate of about 3 millimetres a year since satellite altimetry records began in 1992. It has also tracked changes in regional sea level; monitored the speed and direction of ocean surface currents; enabled more accurate weather, ocean and climate forecasts; and observed multiple El Niño and La Niña events. Since October 2016, it has operated in a tandem mission with its successor, Jason-3, launched in January 2016, doubling coverage of the global ocean and improving data resolution for both missions.

But as Jason-2 ages, it has become prudent to move the older satellite out of its current shared orbit with Jason-3. On 20 June, Jason-2’s four mission partners agreed to lower Jason-2’s orbit by 27 kilometres early July, placing it in a new orbit with a long repeat period of nearly a year. The move is designed to safeguard the orbit for Jason-3 and its planned successors – the Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 satellites, where the first launch is planned for 2020 – whilst continuing to extract the maximum scientific and operational benefit from Jason-2.

Jason-2 will continue to collect valuable measurements of sea state, wind speed and sea surface height for operational use in ocean forecasting, marine meteorology and climate monitoring applications but will also undertake a new science mission that can only be achieved in the long-repeat orbit. Jason-2 will collect data along a series of very closely spaced ground tracks just eight kilometres apart to produce a new, high-resolution map of Earth’s average sea surface height.

Remko Scharroo Mission Scientist at EUMETSAT said: “The map of the mean sea surface elevation that Jason-2 is going to build up over its remaining lifetime will form a reference tying the various altimeter missions together. This reference will be essential for future altimeter missions that do not repeat ground tracks of previous missions, which is in particular the case for the Copernicus Sentinel-3B mission to be launched by the European Space Agency in early 2018 and operated by EUMETSAT on behalf of the European Union”.

About EUMETSAT

The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 30 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom) and one Cooperating State (Serbia).

EUMETSAT operates the geostationary satellites Meteosat-9, -10 and -11 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-8 over the Indian Ocean.

EUMETSAT operates two Metop polar-orbiting satellites as part of the Initial Joint Polar System (IJPS) shared with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

EUMETSAT is also a partner in the cooperative high precision ocean altimetry Jason missions involving Europe and the United States (Jason-2, Jason-3 and Jason-CS/Sentinel-6).

The data and products from EUMETSAT’s satellites are vital to weather forecasting and make a significant contribution to the monitoring of environment and climate change.

The European Union has entrusted EUMETSAT with exploiting the four Sentinel missions of the Copernicus space component dedicated to the monitoring of atmosphere, ocean and climate on its behalf. EUMETSAT will carry out these tasks in cooperation with ESA.

EUMETSAT has established cooperation with operators of Earth Observation satellites from Europe and China, India, Japan, Russia and the United States.

Media Relations EUMETSAT:
 

Tel: +49 6151 807 7320
Fax: +49 6151 807 7321
Email:  press@eumetsat.int 
 

EUMETSAT extends Jason-2 operations and approves contracts for the deployment of EPS-Second Generation and the improvement of data access services

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Jason-2 high-precision ocean altimetry mission launched in 2008 and exploited in partnership with NOAA, NASA and CNES was extended for two years, from 1 January 2018 until the end of 2019, to complement Jason-3, operational since July 2016. 

The Council also welcomed Ireland as the 16th Participating State in the Jason-CS Programme, the contribution of EUMETSAT to the cooperative Sentinel-6 mission expected to replace Jason-3 in 2021. The mission involves also ESA, the European Union and the United States through NASA and NOAA.

A key milestone towards the initial deployment of the EUMETSAT Polar System of Second Generation (EPS-SG) was passed with the award of contracts to Arianespace and Telespazio for the launch services and the Launch and Early Operations (LEOP) services for the first pair of Metop-SG satellites plus one spare satellite.

The first two Metop-SG satellites will be launched from Kourou by Soyuz, and the contract with Arianespace also offers EUMETSAT the possibility to use Ariane-62 for the third satellite. 

To improve access to EUMETSAT and Copernicus data, the Council approved a contract to extend the EUMETCast-Africa data broadcasting service with higher bandwidth and arrangements with ECMWF and Mercator-Ocean for the deployment of a distributed Copernicus Data and Information Access Service (DIAS) platform on behalf of the European Union. 

About EUMETSAT

The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 30 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom) and one Cooperating State (Serbia).

EUMETSAT operates the geostationary satellites Meteosat-9, -10 and -11 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-8 over the Indian Ocean.

EUMETSAT operates two Metop polar-orbiting satellites as part of the Initial Joint Polar System (IJPS) shared with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

EUMETSAT is also a partner in the cooperative high precision ocean altimetry Jason missions involving Europe and the United States (Jason-2, Jason-3 and Jason-CS/Sentinel-6).

The data and products from EUMETSAT’s satellites are vital to weather forecasting and make a significant contribution to the monitoring of environment and climate change.

The European Union has entrusted EUMETSAT with exploiting the four Sentinel missions of the Copernicus space component dedicated to the monitoring of atmosphere, ocean and climate on its behalf. EUMETSAT will carry out these tasks in cooperation with ESA.

EUMETSAT has established cooperation with operators of Earth Observation satellites from Europe and China, India, Japan, Russia and the United States.

Media Relations EUMETSAT:
 

Tel: +49 6151 807 7320
Fax: +49 6151 807 7321
Email:  press@eumetsat.int 
 

Satellite for 5G

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New satcom projects

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Advances in mobile connectivity are rapidly shaping new markets and societal change, while the need for secure communications poses pressing challenges for institutions and enterprises. This panel held at the Paris Air and Space Show 21 June, focusses on the Govsatcom Precursor programme and the announcement of a 5G Joint Statement, two activities led by ESA, where space-based communications provide solutions, shape infrastructure and exploit market opportunities.

Govsatcom Precursor is a first step by ESA to demonstrate what the European space industry can do to support the European Union’s Govsatcom future initiative, designed to pool and share relevant governmental and commercial satellite solutions to provide secure and guaranteed access to satellite communications in support to applications such as crisis management or maritime surveillance The 5G Joint Statement sees 16 satellite operators, service providers, manufacturers, and ESA join forces to form a strategic vision for the role satellites can play within future 5G networks, the mobile communications solution of the coming decade. It addresses multiple market sectors, including transport, media and entertainment and public safety.

ESA and European space industry join forces on ‘Satellite for 5G’

ESA and European space industry join forces on ‘Satellite for 5G’

Collaboration over ‘Satellite for 5G’

21 June 2017

ESA and 16 satellite industry leaders today signed a joint statement on their collaboration over ‘Satellite for 5G’ at the Paris Air and Space Show.

ESA and the European space industry are joining forces to develop and demonstrate the added value that satellite brings in the context of 5G.

As part of an ESA ‘Satellite for 5G’ initiative foreseen over 2018–20 and beyond, ESA and the European space industry will work together on:

  • 5G service trials, including satellite capabilities, with a focus on selected sectors targeted by 5G, so called ‘Verticals’, such as transport, media and entertainment, and public safety;
  • transversal activities in the areas of applications development, standardisation, resource management aspects, interoperability demonstration campaigns, and supporting technologies;
  • outreach activities.

The next step will be for the signatories to consolidate the defining elements of the trial projects and transversal actions by the end of the year.

These efforts are in line with, and will build on, the existing initiatives of the European Commission (EC) on 5G and will seek complementarity with other European, national and international initiatives. The joint statement signed today advocates further convergence between European industry and institutions on 5G, which will also be reiterated at the ESA/European Space Policy Institute conference on ‘Space and Satcom for 5G: European Transport and Connected Mobility’, 27–28 June 2017.

See: https://artes.esa.int/space-and-satcom-5g

The joint statement was signed by Magali Vaissiere, ESA Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, and representatives from 16 satellite operators, service providers and manufacturers. The signing took place at the international Paris Air and Space Show in the presence of ESA Director General Jan Woerner.

“5G provides a major opportunity for our space industry, for space and satellites to become integral parts of the future generation of communications networks and services. The joint statement demonstrates that our key industrial stakeholders are ready to join forces in response to this industrial ambition. ESA is going to define a framework supporting industrial action and further strengthening and coordinating institutional support in Europe and in particular with the EC,” commented Mrs Vaissiere.

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2123

Diary of a rookie Greyshirt with Team Rubicon UK

Inmarsat is proud to sponsor Team Rubicon UK, a first response charity made up of military veterans which operates in the UK and around the world.

Sunday 28 May

Having been awarded my Team Rubicon (TR) Greyshirt some 48 hours earlier, I found myself taking a call asking if I would be prepared to head out to Sri Lanka as part of a TR recce assessing the damage caused by severe flooding, and help prepare for a potential TR disaster response deployment. Sri Lanka had just witnessed its worst flooding in over a decade with over 150 fatalities and over 500,000 people displaced (numbers that were to grow in the coming days). After making a few work calls and sending a few emails, not to mention the conversation with my wife and three daughters, I had the necessary clearance to be able to say yes.

Tuesday 30 May

I received confirmation that TR would be sending a four-strong recce team out to Sri Lanka on Thursday evening. Flights were booked and visas applied for, and that’s when TR realised that my passport, due to expire in November, didn’t have the required six months’ validity. Very quickly I arranged an appointment at HM Passport Office in London to arrange a renewal – the first available slot was at 12:45 on Thursday!

Wednesday 31 May

Back down to Chilmark, Wiltshire, home of TR UK HQ, for briefings, to pick up additional equipment, have a medical and also have the chance to meet the rest of the recce team: Paul, one of the first TR UK members, who spent 24 years in The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and now leads expeditions; ‘Bags’, an ex-tank commander now working in the film industry as an advisor; and Mike, formerly a gunner with 40 Field Regiment Royal Artillery who currently works for Qinetiq.

The guys at TR HQ were amazing. Their combined experience in all aspects of disaster relief and command and control (C2) is invaluable. The situational awareness briefings that we received were detailed and helped paint a picture of the real world view on the ground. We were to be in constant communication with various updates and use an app-based chat group to share messages, documents, contact details, images and so on. Knowing that there is this support infrastructure available 24/7 is very reassuring. As the Inmarsat representative I took ownership of the TR Cobham Explorer 510 BGAN terminal and one of the two IsatPhone 2 satellite phones we have donated.

Thursday 1 June

The guys at the passport office surpassed themselves and I was in possession of my shiny new passport by 16:00, in plenty of time to get to Heathrow at 18:00 for our 10.5 hour flight.

Friday 2 June

On arrival we met with Romesh, AKA “the fixer”, who heads up a Colombo-based charity called CandleAid, which distributes emergency aid and helps people put their lives back together after a disaster by arranging clean-ups and replacing everyday equipment like cooking utensils.

Romesh told us about the Matara district in the south, which had been badly affected by the flooding. We discussed utilising small units of SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) with key skills, namely medical, chainsaw and volunteer management, that could work with and task local volunteers and add structure and planning to the relief effort.  At this point it looked increasingly like there were indeed the foundations of a TR deployment.

Saturday 3 June

We updated TR HQ and contacted the British High Commission to inform them of our presence and also our intent, then headed to Akuressa, about 20 km north of Matara, with our fixer Romesh.

Flood damage Sri Lanka

Sunday 4 June

Our first stop was to recce a guesthouse to be used as a FOB (Forward Operating Base). This was a two storey building that just days ago was submerged in 6ft of water. We moved around to observe and record the devastation, from landslides that had ruptured buildings, to bridges that had been destroyed. We took photos and recorded the position of each and every potential project. We were told about entire families being stranded on rooftops for days. At each and every site we heard tales of misfortune, but were greeted with smiles and hospitality.

The UK HQ was busy taking our recce findings and coordinating a team to get out and help turn things around.

Monday 5 June

With the arrival of the main body due in a few days, we spent the day getting in supplies and scoping out the local hospitals in Akuressa and Matara.

Tuesday 6 June

We assessed the damage in some of the surrounding areas, which turned out to be less badly affected. Back in the UK things were ramping up and a call had gone out to all TR Greyshirts for volunteers to stand themselves up for deployment.

We were fortunate that the communications infrastructure in the local area had remained unaffected by the flooding, largely due to the fact that the cellular towers are all located on high ground.  If the extreme monsoon rain had been accompanied by a cyclone, we would have been completely reliant on the Inmarsat equipment that we had deployed with. We carried the equipment with us every day and it was reassuring to know that no matter what we would be able to communicate as and when we needed. I also took the opportunity to take Mike through the operation of the E510 BGAN terminal, which by his own admission he found surprisingly intuitive and easy to use.

Wednesday 7 June

The long journey home began, which, including a handover at the airport with one of the arriving Greyshirts, ran smoothly. I for one feel a great deal of satisfaction knowing that, as a Team Rubicon volunteer, I have played a small part in kicking off this deployment. The work is ongoing in-country and I look forward to hearing about the successes out there.


About the author

Barry Cox (or Baz as he likes to be known) served with the British Parachute Regiment and, after leaving the Army, he retrained in telecoms. Baz joined Inmarsat in 2013 as a technical trainer and after two years moved into the Global Government Business Unit as a Pre-Sales Engineer.  This role sees him demonstrating products and services across the entire Inmarsat portfolio to both partners and end users.

KVH Establishes Dedicated Superyacht Team

Darryl Matfin

06.21.17

Darryl Matfin joins KVH as superyacht sales manager

KVH Industries is pleased to announce the formation of a team, called the KVH Superyacht Group, devoted to serving the mobile connectivity and satellite television needs of the superyacht market.

Darryl Matfin has been hired for the newly created position of superyacht sales manager, and is based in KVH’s Fort Lauderdale, FL, office. Mr. Matfin has a business development background specializing in the marine industry, including 10 years as managing director of the yacht division of a leading marine electronics and AV/IT integrator.

Steve Gorman has been appointed to the newly created position of superyacht field engineer, and is also based in Fort Lauderdale. Mr. Gorman has more than 25 years of experience as a marine electronics dealer.

Roberta Dodero rounds out the team in Fort Lauderdale as superyacht account manager. Ms. Dodero has been an account manager for the past 17 years, specializing in services including licensed news, movies, and sports content supplied to KVH’s customers in the cruise, leisure, and other maritime industries.

Andrew Bush, a KVH sales manager based in Liverpool, UK, will direct the superyacht-focused efforts in the EMEA region, including the Mediterranean.

The KVH Superyacht Group is headed by Jim George, senior director, global leisure sales, who has been a marine sales leader for more than 20 years at KVH; he is based in Middletown, RI. Mr. George and his team will focus on providing customized services for superyacht captains, charterers, and owners, tailored to each particular yacht’s needs.

“KVH is committed to providing a platinum-level experience for superyachts, knowing that each of these vessels has very specific needs,” says Mr. George. “We will devote sales, technical, and field support experts to support our superyacht customers around the world, and ensure we are right beside them for anything they need.”

KVH’s award-winning marine products include the TracPhone® V-IP series of satellite communications antenna systems and the TracVision® line of satellite television antenna systems. Mobile connectivity services include the market-leading mini-VSAT Broadbandsm network, and a host of value-added services including myKVH™, a portal that enables yacht operators to more effectively manage onboard broadband data usage, and track vessel movements and locations.

Note to Editors: For more information about KVH’s mobile connectivity services for the marine market, please visit the mini-VSAT Broadband website, minivsat.com/vipyachts. For news updates, follow KVH on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

About KVH Industries, Inc.
KVH Industries, Inc., is a leading provider of in-motion satellite TV and communications systems, having designed, manufactured, and sold more than 200,000 mobile satellite antennas for applications on vessels, vehicles, and aircraft. KVH is also a leading news, music, and entertainment content provider to many industries including maritime, retail, and leisure. Videotel, a KVH company, is a market-leading provider of training films, computer-based training and eLearning. KVH is based in Middletown, RI, with research, development, and manufacturing operations in Middletown, RI, and Tinley Park, IL. The company’s global presence includes offices in Belgium, Brazil, Cyprus, Denmark, Hong Kong, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.

Thuraya IP M2M Service launched to connect the Internet of Remote Things

DUBAI, UAE, 21 June, 2017 – Thuraya Telecommunications Company today announced the launch of the Thuraya IP M2M Service to support high volume, high throughput machine-to-machine (M2M) applications. The service is powered by Thuraya’s real-time, two-way IP network with speeds of up to 444 Kbps, a state-of-the-art Remote Terminal Management (RTM) platform and the Thuraya IP+ terminal. 

The new service extends the capabilities of Thuraya’s successful IP+ terminal to support a wider range of M2M applications. It is designed for efficient communication between devices and for the control and consolidation of data from remote equipment. The service targets a number of sectors including oil and gas, utilities, renewable energy, banking and government.

The RTM platform provides a rich set of connectivity management features including usage monitoring, connection control, abnormal session management, geo-fencing, firewall management, usage traffic graphs and charts. It’s device management features allow users to view a connected terminal’s position, signal strength and current status. Users can also reboot and configure the terminal remotely.

Thuraya’s acting Chief Commercial Officer, Rashid Baba said: “The rise in IoT applications and M2M adoption has triggered an increase in demand among several sectors for higher throughput applications deployed over satellite. Some of these solutions include video- and image capturing for surveillance and security; oil and gas real-time applications; smart-grid Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) recloser connectivity, and wind and solar farm monitoring. Thuraya IP M2M service addresses these requirements while taking operational efficiency for our customers to a whole new level by reducing the total cost of ownership and operation of their IoT apps and services.”

Thuraya IP M2M service enhances Thuraya’s M2M product range by addressing market requirements for bandwidth hungry M2M applications. It allows users to send bulk amounts of data per month, offering a scalable solution for high-volume SCADA connectivity, remote asset control, and other telemetry requirements.

Rashid Baba added: “Our announcement about joining the LoRa Alliance adds further momentum to Thuraya’s M2M aspirations. We are expanding our services and solutions to areas such as rural IoT and M2M connectivity, cargo and shipping, smart agriculture, and smart metering. Thuraya IP M2M service is one of the key components of our exciting FUTURA capability plans, and positions us well to effectively address the market requirements.”

About Thuraya Telecommunications Company
Thuraya Telecommunications Company is an industry leading MSS operator and a global telecommunication provider offering innovative communications solutions to a variety of sectors including energy, broadcast media, maritime, military and humanitarian NGO. Thuraya’s superior network enables clear communications and uninterrupted coverage across two thirds of the globe by satellite and across the whole planet through its unique GSM roaming capabilities. The company’s diverse range of technologically superior and highly reliable mobile satellite handsets and broadband devices provide ease of use, value, quality and efficiency. Thuraya remains committed to serving humanity through delivering the essential tools for optimal connectivity, never leaving anyone out of reach. Visit www.thuraya.com  

Airport Breakfast – on the use of European satellite navigation systems in aviation

On the 8th of June at the Katowice Airport located in Pyrzowice the “Airport Breakfast” meeting was held, conducted within the European CaBilAvi project.

The aim of the meeting was to disseminate most recent information and increase awareness on the use of European satellite navigation systems in aviation activities. The “Airport Breakfast” in Pyrzowice was the first from a set of such planned meetings in Europe.

Within the scope of the CaBilAvi meeting, funded by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 Framework, knowledge on E-GNSS (European satellite navigation systems) is shared among amateurs and professionals. Two other project themes are the introduction of new knowledge on GNSS systems to the aviation educational programmes and the implementation of EGNOS procedures’ use in South-East European countries.

The International Katowice Airport located in Pyrzowice has been selected to host the event because of its many years’ experience in operations utilising the LPV procedure, which allows to conduct landings with a higher precision (of machine localisation).

The meeting started with the greeting of guests in a dedicated video recording by Mrs Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. The Commissioner shortly mentioned the importance of the space sector, including the EGNOS system and its resulting benefits for all Europeans, on the example of aviation. The next presentation was given by Mr Paweł Wojda, the director of the International Katowice Airport located in Pyrzowice. He explained to the participants the airport characteristics and the key development plans for the upcoming years.

Polish Air Navigation Services Agency Logo

The technical issues were presented at the event by the representatives of the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (PAŻP). Tomasz Woźniak, Director of the GNSS Department at PAŻP presented the Agency’s activities in Poland and introduced projects related to EGNOS, such as EDCN/EDCN Next, HEDGE/HEDGE Next, APV Mielec, SHERPA, FLIPA. Piotr Cześnik, the Main Specialist for Instrumental Flight Procedures and acting Head of the Department of Procedure Design and Aircraft Obstacle Analysis in PAŻP presented issues of APV SBAS approaches within the Flight Information Region in Warsaw.

A representative of the European GNSS Agency (GSA) also participated to the meeting. Marta Krywanis, Market Innovation Officer at GSA presented the activities conducted at the Agency and described the organizational issues related to EGNOS and Galileo. In the second part of the presentation financial tools and activities supporting the publication on the LPV procedure were explained.

International Katowice Airport located in Pyrzowice / Źródło: GTL S.A.

Participating in the meeting were representatives of airports, aviation clubs, operators and ATO. They learned in the event how operations using E-GNSS systems can be implemented and how to finance them. Also presenters of PAŻP explained the benefits of approaching with the use of the LPV procedure, which increases air safety during landing operations and allows for more airport availability during difficult atmospheric conditions, and all this at a small financial cost because there is no need of ground infrastructure development

The meeting was organized by GTL S.A. (owner of the airport), the European GNSS Agency (GSA) and two representatives of the CaBilAvi consortium – the GNSS Centre of Excellence (GCE) and Kosmonauta.net company from Gdańsk.

Materials from the event including presentations, photos and information leaflets will be shared at the CaBilAvi project at: http://cabilavi.gnss-centre.cz/airport-breakfast-katowice

More about EGNOS

EGNOS (the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) is a regional satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) operational since 2009. The EGNOS system consists of three geostationary satellites and a network of ground stations. The aim of this service is to improve performance of satellite navigation systems (e.g. GPS, Galileo). Thanks to EGNOS, the precision of GNSS services has increased from 10 to 3 metres. The system was created to provide safety of life navigation services to aviation, maritime and land-based users.

Its role in the aviation segment is particularly critical as GNSS alone is not capable of meeting the strict operational criteria established by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in critical flight stages such as final approaches. EGNOS has been certified for civil aviation since 2011.