Handover for team who put Galileo users on notice

Handover for team who put Galileo users on notice


18 July 2017

After four years of work, the ESA team tasked with keeping the world informed on the status of the Galileo satellite navigation system has formally passed on its responsibility to a European Union agency.

This shift is part of a wider transfer of responsibilities, as this month see the official handover of the running of the Galileo system from ESA to the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency, or GSA.

“Our job – working with the European Commission and GSA – has been to inform Galileo users in an official, transparent way of any system changes that could affect Galileo satellites,” explains Rafael Lucas Rodriguez, ESA’s Galileo Services Engineering Manager.

“Keeping our users in the picture on planned activities that might lead to satellite unavailability, or any unplanned outages, has helped them to plan their own test activities around Galileo signals and to prepare future products.”

Galileo satellites

The very first Notice Advisory to Galileo Users or NAGU was issued in June 2013, just three months after the first Galileo positioning fix was achieved, to a then small community of researchers and industrial users, interested in making tests with the newborn four-satellite constellation.

GSC web portal 2013

A total of 189 NAGUs were issued under ESA oversight in the last four years, as the constellation grew to its current 18 satellites. The user base increased dramatically from 86 to 774 registered users on the European GNSS Service Centre website as companies worked to prepare Galileo-ready products and then, on 15 December 2016, Galileo’s Initial Services began operating.

Throughout this period, the NAGUs, published on the website of the European GNSS Service Centre and sent to subscribers via email, gave the user community a reliable overview of Galileo’s overall status and that of individual satellites.

GSC web portal 2017

NAGUs are issued as new satellites are launched and when satellites become ready for service provision, or to give advance warning of signal unavailability owing to planned maintenance or testing activities, or to notify users of unplanned outages and then to inform them when satellites become active again.

“Broadcom is a regular consumer of the NAGUs released by the Galileo Service Centre,” says Javier de Salas, R&D Director at GNSS receiver chipset manufacturer Broadcom.

“Not only do they help us to organise our engineering activities and tests but, more importantly, they are used as input into our orbit prediction engine for our Long Term Orbits products, which in turn are used by hundreds of millions of consumers worldwide.”

Rafael Lucas of the ESA team adds, “Around a dozen people at ESA worked to begin defining, setting up and operationalising the NAGU process, modelled after the well-established Notice Advisory to Navstar Users of GPS.

Service Definition Document

“Then, our Galileo Services Engineering Team was charged with implementing it, which involved close cooperation with ESA’s Galileo Operations Team and industrial partners to follow the planning of operational activities and anomaly investigations – focused on analysing the service impact to users.”

Nityaporn Sirikan of ESA’s Galileo Services Engineering Team explains: “Our minimum performance level – set out in the Galileo Initial Service – Open Service – Service Definition Document – has been to inform users of any planned outages at least 24 hours in advance and inform of any unplanned outages affecting the service no later than 72 hours after detection, although in practice it’s been much sooner.

 “It has been hectic at times: during July–August last year we issued 25 NAGUs in a month and 12 NAGUs in a day for the Galileo Initial Services Declaration in December, adding up to 77 NAGUs issued in 2016.

“Each document has to be officially authorised by ESA managers before being sent on to the GSA for publication on the European GNSS Service Centre. We also worked to answer technical queries from users submitted via the European GNSS Service Centre.”

Aerial view of ESA’s technical centre

The issuing of NAGUs will remain a key element of the Galileo system, now overseen directly by the GSA, while the ESA’s Galileo Services Engineering Team will move to prepare the next service declaration with improved Galileo performance together with EC/GSA, continue the collaborations with GNSS mass market receiver manufacturers and support the development of novel applications through ESA’s Navigation Innovation and Support Programme.

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Iridium Poised to Make Global Maritime Distress and Safety System History

MCLEAN, Va., July 11, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) announced today that two key milestones along the path to becoming the second recognized provider of Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) services have been reached. During its 98th session this past June, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) adopted new performance standards for GMDSS equipment and approved amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Treaty, which pave the way for Iridium to become a recognized GMDSS service provider. The key remaining step in the approval process is an IMO resolution recognizing Iridium as a certified GMDSS mobile satellite service provider.  Iridium expects this will be completed during calendar year 2018, with Iridium GMDSS service to begin in 2020.

Iridium formally began the process to become a recognized GMDSS mobile satellite service provider in April 2013, and in March of 2016 announced that the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) Subcommittee on Navigation, Communication and Search and Rescue (NCSR) demonstrated broad support to incorporate Iridium as a mobile satellite GMDSS provider. The most recent meeting of the MSC, held from June 7th to 16th, updated the performance requirements for GMDSS equipment to reflect the new, enhanced capabilities mobile satellite companies can offer to the service. Amendments to the SOLAS Treaty opened the door for GMDSS mobile satellite services to be provided by companies other than Inmarsat, and will for the first time in history allow mariners a choice of GMDSS mobile satellite service provider. These developments pave the way for Iridium, and other networks, to become recognized GMDSS service providers.

“We have been working collaboratively with the IMO and member states for several years. The most recent meeting rewarded the hard work with the achievement of these milestones,” said Brian Pemberton, vice president and general manager, strategic planning at Iridium. “The IMO and the maritime community recognize that GMDSS needs to modernize, and additional service providers is one part of that.” Pemberton continued, “Most importantly, we worked closely with the IMO to establish new standards that will bring choice and competition to this critical service area for the first time. Competition is key to ensuring that mariners are provided best-in-class communications for safety purposes, which is a must out at sea.”

As the only communications company with truly global coverage, including the polar regions, the addition of Iridium as a GMDSS service provider is critical to the future of maritime safety and comes with added value for the industry. Arctic shipping routes are becoming more heavily used, including the Northern Sea Route and Northwest Passage, resulting in an increased need for reliable emergency communications.  Iridium’s GMDSS services complement the game-changing capabilities offered by the Company’s next-generation communications platform, Iridium Certus.  Iridium Certus will enable vessels to combine industry-leading broadband and global safety communications within a single terminal, reducing hardware and recurring costs. 

“Over the last decade, we have established ourselves as a trusted player in the maritime safety and security domain,” said Wouter Deknopper, vice president and general manager, maritime at Iridium. “Once we secure complete GMDSS recognition, our leadership position within this market will be strengthened. With the availability of Iridium Certus and GMDSS recognition, we will be able to provide real choice to mariners when it comes to broadband communications and critical safety services all from one terminal.”

The Iridium network is a constellation of 66 low-Earth orbit (LEO), cross-linked satellites that provide reliable, low-latency satellite communications to the entire world, including the poles.  The Company is in the process of replacing its existing network with new satellites, known as Iridium NEXT.  This next-generation constellation is being launched by SpaceX through a series of eight launches, with two successful launches already complete.  It will deliver faster speeds, higher throughputs and act as an innovation engine for Iridium partners and customers. Due to the inherent advantages of the existing network, in combination with the upcoming enhancements provided by Iridium NEXT, Iridium is the ideal network for mobile satellite communications, especially search and rescue efforts and safety services, like GMDSS.  

For more information about Iridium maritime products, services and solutions, please visit https://www.iridium.com/solutions/maritime.

About Iridium Communications Inc.

Iridium is the only mobile voice and data satellite communications network that spans the entire globe. Iridium enables connections between people, organizations and assets to and from anywhere, in real time. Together with its ecosystem of partner companies, Iridium delivers an innovative and rich portfolio of reliable solutions for markets that require truly global communications. The company has a major development program underway for its next-generation network — Iridium NEXT. Iridium Communications Inc. is headquartered in McLean, Va., U.S.A., and its common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol IRDM. For more information about Iridium products, services and partner solutions, visit www.iridium.com.

Forward Looking Statements

Statements in this press release that are not purely historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The Company has based these statements on its current expectations and the information currently available to us. Forward-looking statements in this presentation include statements regarding the approval process for Iridium GMDSS services, the capabilities of new products and services, including Iridium Certus, and the timing for deployment of the Iridium NEXT constellation. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the words “anticipates,” “may,” “can,” “believes,” “expects,” “projects,” “intends,” “likely,” “will,” “to be” and other expressions that are predictions or indicate future events, trends or prospects. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Iridium to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, uncertainties regarding potential delays in the Iridium NEXT deployment, the development and functionality of Iridium NEXT and related products and services, and the company’s ability to maintain the health, capacity and content of its satellite constellation, as well as general industry and economic conditions, and competitive, legal, governmental and technological factors. Other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements include those factors listed under the caption “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on February 23, 2017, as well as other filings Iridium makes with the SEC from time to time. There is no assurance that Iridium’s expectations will be realized. If one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if Iridium’s underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those expected, estimated or projected. Iridium’s forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and Iridium undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements.

Press Contact:
Jordan Hassin
Iridium Communications Inc.
+1 (202) 232-6601
Twitter: @IridiumComm

Investor Contact:
Kenneth Levy
Iridium Communications Inc.
+1 (703) 287-7570
Twitter: @IridiumIR

الثريا ترعى الشباب الإماراتي من خلال برنامجها التدريبي برنامج المدار يستقطب الطلاب من الجامعات المحلية والدولية

دبي، الإمارات العربية المتحدة، 10 يوليو 2017: تهدف شركة الثريا للاتصالات المتنقلة عبر الأقمار الصناعية إلى تعزيز مبادرات التعليم العملي وزيادة الفرص الوظيفية أمام الشباب الإماراتي مع برنامجها التدريبي الخاص بمواطني الدولة. حيث يستقبل برنامج المدار التدريبي الذي تم إطلاقه في العام 2013، طلبة الجامعات في السنوات الدراسية الأخيرة أو الخريجين الجدد الحاصلين على معدل تراكمي يبلغ 2.5 كحد أدنى من أي من المؤسسات المحلية أو الدولية المعتمدة. ويقوم بوضع برامج تدريبية حسب احتياجاتهم سواء كان مسارهم المهني هو تقني أو إداري.

وتقدم الثريا للمتدربين أساساً قوياً للتنمية المهنية حيث تسمح لهم باكتساب المهارات التكتيكية وصقل مهاراتهم العملية. ويقوم برنامج المدار بتعريف الطلبة على جميع جوانب العمل في شركة رائدة للأقمار الصناعية والتي بدورها توفر حلول الاتصالات الأساسية لمجموعة متنوعة من القطاعات.

وأوضحت مريم طاهر، مدير الموارد البشرية في الثريا أن مدة البرنامج تتراوح بين 4 أسابيع إلى 6 أشهر وتختلف من شخص لآخر ويتم إسناد مهام الإشراف على المتدرب إلى أحد موظفي الشركة حيث يقوم بالمتابعة والتدريب. وقبل التحاقهم بالبرنامج، يجتمع المتدربون مع فريق الموارد البشرية لرسم خطة التدريب الفردية لكلٍ منهم، حيث يتم تدوير الطلبة داخلياً بين الإدارات لمساعدتهم على تكوين نظرة شاملة عن العمل.

وأضافت طاهر، “قامت الثريا باستضافة 25 متدربا عند إطلاق البرنامج، وبسبب الإقبال المتزايد، ارتفع عدد المتدربين ليبلغ 33 في العام 2016.  ومن بين هؤلاء، تم تعيين 3 متدربين كموظفين بدوام كامل، بعد استكمالهم للبرنامج وتخرجهم. ولأسباب واضحة، فإن أكثر طلبات التدريب يتم تقديمها لقطاع التكنولوجيا حيث تم إسناد 69٪ من دفعة العام 2016 لهذا القطاع. وتم توزيع باقي المتدربين على الأقسام الأخرى بنسب متفاوتة منها 9٪ في الموارد البشرية، و15٪ في التجارة و7٪ في الاستراتيجية. أما في العام الجاري فقد تم اختيار 14 طالباً منذ بداية العام وهم ينتسبون لعدد من الجامعات المحلية والخارجية مثل جامعة ولاية مينيسوتا، الجامعة الأمريكية في الشارقة وجامعة زايد وغيرهم العديد.”

كشركة تأسست في دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة وترتبط ارتباطا وثيقا بتقدم البلاد في مجال التكنولوجيا، تعتبر المواهب المحلية حيوية لنجاح الثريا. وفي حين أن الشركة تضم فريق عمل متعدد الثقافات والخلفيات، إلا أنها مشارك قوي في جهود التوطين في الدولة حيث يشغل الإماراتيون 30% من الإدارة العليا وتصل نسبة التوطين في الثريا إلى 18٪، 5٪ منهم من الإماراتيات. 

Thuraya Helps Launch Emirati Careers with Internship Program

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 10th July 2017: Mobile satellite service company, Thuraya, aims to boost hands-on learning initiatives and career opportunities among the local youth with its internship program for UAE nationals. Initiated in 2013, Al Madar Internship Program is open to currently-enrolled university students or fresh grads with a minimum GPA of 2.5 from either local or international accredited institutions. The program is best suited to students pursuing a degree in engineering, product development, finance or human resources.

Thuraya has strong roots in pioneering innovative systems and offers interns a great foundation for professional development and tactical skills acquisition. The internship program further allows students access into the inner-workings of a leading satellite communication company that provides essential communication solutions for a variety of sectors, including humanitarian relief efforts – a unique experience in this region.

“Students choose from a minimum of 4 weeks to a maximum of 6 months for their internship with Thuraya. Upon placement, each intern meets with the HR team to draw out an individual internship plan. Interns usually rotate within departments and are placed under the guidance of senior management.” explained Maryam Taher, Human Resources Manager at Thuraya.

A group of Emirati interns with staff at our Primary Gateway

During the program’s inception year, Thuraya hosted 25 interns; in 2016, the program grew to include placements for 33 students. Among them, 3 interns were retained as full-time employees, post their university graduations. For obvious reasons, the highest intern demand is within the company’s technology sector as 69% of last year’s batch was primarily placed here. Other divisions also featured in the 2016 program: 9% of interns served in HR, 15% in commercial and 7% in strategy. The majority of interns tend to be female, with 69% accounting for last year’s pool of selected candidates. In 2017 so far, 14 students have been selected and apart from the usual departments, are also working with teams in product development and satellite operations. This year’s group of students hail from reputed institutions like Minnesota State University, American University of Sharjah and Zayed University to name a few.

An International Relations graduate of Zayed University, Fatima Al Yousuf began her internship with Thuraya in April 2016 and stayed on for 6 months. Unlike most interns, Fatima’s placement is somewhat unique: as a sudden need arose in the Events team, she decided to explore a new career avenue. Fatima delved into the department’s daily workings, from liaising with external partners on Thuraya’s international showcases to managing the company’s presence at the local exhibitions and conferences. She says, “Thuraya really takes care of its interns and ensures that they are placed in a comfortable and attentive atmosphere while getting a solid training and workload. This wasn’t my first internship, but it was a great learning opportunity that made me feel truly prepared for a professional role and ultimately, helped me see that I wanted to continue a career in Event Management.” Fatima is one among the few interns that stayed on at Thuraya and now serves in a full-time position as the Senior Events Executive.

As a company that was founded in the UAE and is closely linked with the country’s advances in technology, homegrown talent is considered vital to the success of Thuraya. While the organization actively employs professionals with multicultural backgrounds from around the world, it is a strong participant in the country’s Emiratization endeavor; 18% of Thuraya’s employees are Emirati, of which 5% are women. Within upper management, 30% of roles are occupied by UAE nationals.

Emirati university students or recent graduates are encouraged to consider an internship placement at Thuraya. Those interested can visit the website to learn more about the program, check available positions and apply online.

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

Talking crops

Cereals, it’s safe to say we all consume them. And it’s likely that we all have a favourite cereal or two, think of all the many delicious rice dishes, your movie theatre popcorn or perhaps your well-deserved beer at the end of your workday.

But how often do you really think about your food? Do you ever stop and think about how it is produced? There’s really a lot involved in growing crops the best possible way and the Internet of Things (IoT) is playing an ever-increasing role in data-driven smart agriculture.

Using innovative technology, farmers can produce more food without expanding their hectares of land, they can improve the quality of the produce and reduce the application of water, fertilizer or pesticides which saves money but also benefits our environment. The need for more food production comes from our fast-growing world population and this is putting pressure on the sector to innovate.

Digitising the arable industry

We experienced the first industrial revolution at the end of the 18th century, today we are in the fourth industrial revolution where we are experiencing a fusion of technologies that is creating really endless possibilities.

Recently at Cereals UK, a leading technical event for the arable industry, many agricultural companies were showing their latest developments. More resistant crop types, tractors that drive on auto-pilot, new spraying technologies and a lot of digital solutions. And in many of these developments, satellite plays a key role.

A number of companies were promoting hyper-spectral imaging from satellites or drones – an interesting technology that looks down on Earth to colour code a farmer’s plots to show aspects like soil variation, crop density or early detection of disease and weeds. Using these maps, farmers can apply precision farming to their crops by applying the right input or treatment exactly where needed. In turn, this can help increase the yield per hectare and reduce the inputs a farmer needs to apply, which besides cost savings also improves our environment and ensures a higher quality of food.

For Inmarsat, there’s a great opportunity to help connect the farm machinery directly to the Internet and enable the smooth transfer of such maps. Today, most of this data transfer is done using USB sticks which is an inefficient way as the farmer always needs to pass by the office first, download the data onto a USB and manually upload this to the machine.

Again, at the end of the day the farmer downloads the production data from the machine to upload it back to his computer in order for his agronomist to have full visibility of the work performed. The benefits of seamlessly connected machines are obvious.

As IoT plays an ever more important role in agriculture, Inmarsat has developed some really innovative solutions, with many more to come.

We help farmers to automate some of their processes by installing sensors in the field or orchard between the crops. These sensors measure values like soil humidity, temperature, solar radiation and rainfall, leaf wetness, nutrients like NPK and more. This information can be collected at regular intervals providing the farmer or agronomist with valuable information to make the best possible decisions. You don’t want to irrigate your crops if the soil still contains enough water already and you will want to adapt your fertilisation plans according to the local weather forecast. All this data is collected and transported over our satellite network and because of Inmarsat’s global coverage, solutions like these can be deployed pretty much everywhere and anywhere in the world.

Having met with farmers, distributors, agronomists and IoT solution providers at Cereals UK, we saw that there was great interest from all sides in the ability of satellite technology to enhance farming, and some new solutions may be based on some of our learnings we picked up from this event! And this is exactly what we want to do; work closely with the farming community and align our solutions to their exact needs to ensure they become more efficient.

So…talking crops?

I’m not talking science fiction here, through all these smart sensors, crops can basically start talking to us and tell us what they need to grow better. Or when they need a little less of something. These are interesting times and it’s really amazing to be part of it.

About the author

Ayan Jobse-Alkemade Ayan Jobse-Alkemade has been Inmarsat’s Director of Agritech Sector Development since February 2017. He started at Inmarsat in April 2014 and worked in both the Carrier Sales and M2M sales teams, delivering strategic partnerships for the new GSM-to-Satellite Roaming service.

In his current role Ayan builds relationships with partners in the Agritech sector and aims to provide valuable solutions based on satellite connectivity, with a focus on the Internet of Things.

Iridium Announces Release Date for Second-Quarter 2017 Financial Results

MCLEAN, Va., July 06, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:IRDM) (“Iridium”) will host a conference call on Thursday, July 27, 2017 at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) to discuss the Company’s second-quarter 2017 financial results.  In advance of the call on July 27, 2017, Iridium will issue its second-quarter 2017 earnings press release, which will be available at http://www.iridium.com.  To participate in the teleconference, callers can dial the toll-free number 1-877-334-1964 (U.S. callers only) or 1-631-291-4574 (from outside the U.S.).  The conference call ID is 43003425.  To help ensure the conference call begins in a timely manner, please dial in five minutes prior to the scheduled start time.  The conference call will also be simultaneously webcast at http://www.iridium.com

For those unable to participate in the live call, an archived replay of the webcast will be available at http://www.iridium.com.

About Iridium Communications Inc.
Iridium® is the only mobile voice and data satellite communications network that spans the entire globe.  Iridium enables connections between people, organizations and assets to and from anywhere, in real time.  Together with its ecosystem of partner companies, Iridium delivers an innovative and rich portfolio of reliable solutions for markets that require truly global communications.  The company has a major development program underway for its next-generation network — Iridium NEXT. Iridium Communications Inc. is headquartered in McLean, Va., U.S.A., and its common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol IRDM.  For more information about Iridium products, services and partner solutions, visit www.iridium.com.  IRDM-F

Investor Contact:                                                        

Kenneth Levy 
Iridium Communications Inc.
+1 (703) 287-7570

Press Contact:

Jordan Hassin
Iridium Communications Inc.
+1 (703) 287-7421

WiSL: Transforming “what could be” into reality

At Inmarsat, we recognize that rapid and cost-effective commercial innovation that is built to government requirements optimizes mission success. That is why Inmarsat together with its partners focuses on the development of innovative and dependable technology that maximizes the use of what has already been proven and, often, already adopted by Programs of Record.
Ultimately, we are committed to the very essence of innovation as once described by playwright George Bernard Shaw: “You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’ ”

We are driven by the same values at Inmarsat, where our culture of innovation allows us to provide services that are relevant to the serviceman and woman’s requirements and are designed for every aspect of the military on-the-move users’ worldwide missions.

Take as an example developments over recent years with our award-winning Inmarsat Wideband Streaming L-band (WiSL). WiSL is a capability utilizing Inmarsat’s reliable worldwide L-band space and ground network to support higher throughputs from miniature form factor antennas to meet high-demand Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) and Process, Exploitation, Dissemination (PED) needs. Terminal solutions are available today that leverage existing installed antennas as well as those that take advantage of recently developed ultra-compact terminals.
Immense capabilities on display.

We first demonstrated WiSL in 2014 and it is now flying on aircraft, rapidly transforming from an idea to a demonstration to a new capability. Via micro antennas as small as five inches, it has shown during recent demonstrations in multiple user scenarios that it delivers data rates as high as 10Mbps x 10Mbps. Using high-order modulation, the demonstrations revealed efficiencies up to 4.5 bits per hertz in supporting cost-efficient bandwidth utilization.

With WiSL, we are providing to government users unparalleled coverage, performance and data rates on small platforms within the wide variety of often challenging environments in which they operate, including heavy rains and low altitudes. Thus we make possible optimal size, weight and power (SWaP), while maximizing the mission payload. The latter element cannot be understated or otherwise glossed over. It serves as the biggest motivator for customers as they evaluate systems for acquisition.

Even with this level of unmatched performance, we continue the pace of user-focused innovation with other applications such as the WiSL Aero Modem, which utilizes existing SwiftBroadband equipment and adds affordable appliance to establish high-speed L-band connectivity in-flight with minimum modification requirements on the part of the aircraft. The modem is now in the testing stages and we expect to see it at an operational level soon.

That is how we look beyond what “is,” and see everything that “could be” to better serve U.S. government missions. WiSL is just one of many examples of what our Inmarsat core values – as well as collective talents and intellectual curiosity – can create. Frankly, I cannot wait to see what is next.

About the author

Steve GizinskiSteve Gizinski is Inmarsat Vice-President, Special Programs, U.S. Government Business Unit, providing focused support to the Special Operations, Intelligence and aero/UAV customer communities.

Steve brings to this role 30 years of in-depth experience overseeing mission-critical technology efforts for commercial, intelligence, and U.S. Department of Defense customers. Prior to joining Inmarsat, Steve was the President and CEO of CVG, Inc., a SATCOM start-up and before that held a variety of management positions at Northrop Grumman, Hughes Space and Communications and Lockheed Martin.

CanSat Competition

2017 European CanSat competition

The 2017 European CanSat Competition winners are…

4 July 2017

More than one hundred students from all over Europe participated in the 2017 European CanSat Competition, organised by the European Space Agency and hosted by ZARM in Bremen with the help of local partners, which took place from 28 June to 2 July.   The winning teams were announced on 1 July.   The  ‘La Burgoneta Espacial’ team from Spain won first prize,  while  Ireland’s ‘Canny Potter’ and Poland’s  ‘CANpernicus’ ranked second and third respectively.

ESA congratulates the winners and all the participating teams, which have all demonstrated tremendous skills and passion.

Team La Burgoneta Espacial from Spain

A CanSat is a miniature ‘satellite’ designed to fit into the volume and shape of a soft drink can. It is fully operational and includes all the major subsystems found in a satellite, such as power, sensors, and a communications system.  CanSats must perform a primary mission, which consists in measuring air temperature and pressure, and a secondary mission, open to the students’  imagination.

ESA’s Education Office has been inviting secondary school students to take part in the European CanSat competition since 2010. It is part of ESA’s initiative to inspire young people to pursue a career in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

On the first day of the competition students were welcomed with an opening ceremony featuring special guests and a social dinner. The excitement of the teams was tangible,  and they were all looking forward to getting started!

Team Canny Potter from Ireland

On the second day, all the teams gave a brief presentation to the Jury members in order to introduce their projects. Some of the teams also had technical and drop tests of their CanSats, as they all had to fulfil the requirements stated in the CanSat guidelines.

On the third day, despite the unfavourable weather conditions, the rocket launch was confirmed, and most of the teams got to perform their CanSat missions. Some of the students even had the chance to go to the launch site and put their own CanSat inside the rockets! The CanSats were launched from the Airfield of Rotenburg and deployed in sets of 3 at an altitude of 750 metres.

Team CANpernicus from Poland

On the fourth and last day, the teams gave a final presentation to the jury with their results, and had the chance to have a guided tour of the facilities at OHB System AG and the German Space Agency (DLR). The deliberation of the jury members took several hours, and aspects including the educational value of the project, team work, and the attitude of the teams throughout the competition were taken into account , as well as the scientific and technical aspects of the project.

The winners and missions of the 7th European CanSat competition are:

1st prize: La Burgoneta Espacial (Country: Spain; School: IES El Burgo de las Rozas, Madrid)

The team’s mission consisted infinding a planet that could sustain human life (measuring UV radiation and CO2), getting information from the topographic survey to choose the right landing spot for future missions, and broadcasting live mission information to the general public (video and telemetry data). 

2nd prize: Canny Potter (Country: Ireland; School: St Columba’s College, Dublin)

The primary objective of the team’s mission was to gather essential data on descent through the atmosphere and evaluate the data in terms of abiotic factors which are key enablers for the existence of life, such as suitable temperature, pressure, and moisture content. Terrestrial evaluation would be used as a guide for the development of a probe suitable for launch on the moons of the outer solar system.

3rd prize: CANpernicus (Country: Poland; School: ZS UMK Gimnazjum i Liceum Akademickie, Toruń)

The team’s main goal was to determine the possibility of life on a planet, or, in other words, to find conditions similar to the Earth’s. They checked for conditions most suitable for life as we know it, and in order to do so they measured humidity, light intensity, magnetic field intensity, and CO2 concentration.

The participant teams were:

SpaceWalk, national winners from Belgium, 
RAJsat, national winners from Czech Republic,
Yes we CanSat, national winners of Denmark,
Recognize, national winners from Germany,
C.A.N.I.S., national winners of Greece,
ZenSat Club (selected by ESA) representing Hungary,
Canny Potter, national winners of Ireland,
Fluosat, national winners of Italy,
Greetings from Space, national winners of The Netherlands,
CANpernicus, national winners of Poland,
ENTA Team Sat 3, national winners of Portugal,
Tomis III, national winners of Romania,
La Burgoneta Espacial, national winners of Spain,
AcidaSat (selected by ESA) representing Switzerland, and
GWC CanSat, national winners of The UK.

All teams are now completing their CanSat Final Paper which they will need to deliver in July. This Final Paper is a scientific paper including an abstract and a description of the project, including the results of the CanSat mission.

Watch the Live streaming video of the CanSat launch from the winning team, La Burgoneta Espacial:

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Notes for editors:

ESA Education would like to thank the ZARM team and partners (DLR, OHB, and Airbus) for making this event a success.

Special thanks go to the European CanSat 2017 Jury members Eamon Connolly (CEIA), Meike List (ZARM) and Peter Schneider (OHB) who supported ESA’s Education staff and the student teams during the whole competition finals.

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The International Space Station crosses the Moon

Help your students become young astronomers with CESAR!

CESAR is an  educational ESA initiative whose main objective is to engage school students with the wonders of astronomy and, more generally, science and technology. CESAR stands for ‘Cooperation through Education in Science and Astronomy Research.’

Through CESAR, students (supported by their teachers) have access to telescopes, tools, and the expertise of ESA scientists to make real astronomical observations, collect scientific data and analyse the results, applying the same methodology used in real life by professional scientists.

The CESAR programme also offers teachers the tools and resources necessary to prepare and support their students during the CESAR experience, as well as dedicated teacher conferences to inspire them to use space as a context when  teaching  STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) at school.

What’s on offer?

•  Space Science Experience
Primary and secondary school teachers from ESA’s Member States* can register their class for a unique 2-hour session of real hands-on astronomy at ESAC. The students will be guided by ESA scientists through a group activity during which they will be assigned a ‘mission’ within a space science theme that the teachers can choose at the time of registration (based on the students’ age and curriculum). To accomplish their mission, the students will have to answer questions, use imagery taken by the CESAR telescopes and other ESA space missions, analyse the data, and communicate their results. The teachers will be provided in advance with explanations and resources to prepare their students to the experience itself, including a videoconference with a scientist (if technically  feasible at the school).
Learn more

•  Science cases
This is a series of classroom resources (teacher’s guide, student worksheets, background information, etc) on astronomical topics ranging from the Sun to the deep universe, based on astronomical data and images collected by the CESAR telescopes. These resources are available for download, and can be used by the teachers as a basis for their STEM lessons in the classroom.
Learn more

•  CESAR teacher conferences
During the year, ESA scientists and the CESAR team organise conferences and lectures to introduce astronomy and space science to teachers, provide hints and inspiration for the use of space in their lessons, and make them interact with real space experts.
Learn more

•  Watch the Sun Live
Since August 2016, the Helios CESAR Solar Observatory operates daily, weather permitting, and provides images of the Sun every minute of the day. These images can be viewed directly online.
See the daily images of the Sun

The CESAR telescopes

The CESAR programme provides students with access to several ground-based observatories:

  • Two solar telescopes (visible light) that operate during the day
  • Two night telescopes (visible light)

These telescopes are all based at, or in the vicinity of, ESA’s European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC)  near Madrid, Spain. They are all controlled by experts working at the CESAR Control Room located at ESAC.

Learn more about the CESAR observing facilities

The CESAR partnership

CESAR  is the result of a partnership between the European Space Agency (ESA), the Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA) and Ingeniería de Sistemas para la Defensa de España (ISDEFE).

CESAR website

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Last update: 5 July 2017

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Drone in radio-free zone


This 6 m-wingspan unmanned aircraft is supported in mid-air within ESA’s Hertz radio-frequency test chamber, as if suspended in flight, to check it can maintain contact with its controller through satellite links.

The drone, developed by Barnard Microsystems Ltd of the UK, has been fitted with a steerable array antenna in its wing to keep contact with the Inmarsat constellation.

This is the focus of ESA’s ESTARR project – Electronically Steered Antenna Array in the Wing of a Remotely Piloted Aircraft – which is investigating the feasibility of steerable low-cost array antenna in the drone’s wings.

Designed for oil, gas and mineral prospecting, pipeline surveying and border patrols, the drone will spend most of its time operating far from its controller, often in areas with no communications infrastructure. To ensure the legally mandated link between the remote pilot and the drone, a satellite data relay service must be used.

The array must electronically sweep its beam rapidly to counteract any movement of the drone, and maintain the all-important control link with space, without any aerodynamic or electronic interference with the functioning of the drone itself.

Testing was performed in ESA’s metal-walled Hybrid European Radio Frequency and Antenna Test Zone at the Agency’s technical centre in the Netherlands, shut off from all external influences for radio testing. Its internal walls are studded with radio-absorbing ‘anechoic’ foam pyramids, preventing any distorting radio signal reflections, while also absorbing noise.