The 12 Days of EU Space

Published: 
22 December 2023
2023 was an eventful year for EUSPA thanks to milestones such as the EU SST takeover or the implementation of Galileo HAS
2023 was an eventful year for EUSPA thanks to milestones such as the EU SST takeover or the implementation of Galileo HAS

It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone. But as they say, time flies when you’re having fun – and busy getting things done. And 2023 was another fun yet busy year for EUSPA and the EU Space Programme.

So, in the spirit of the season, let’s recap the year that was to the tune of a popular holiday song.

On the first day of space EUSPA sent to me 

A brand-new responsibility

On 1 July 2023, EUSPA took responsibility for the EU Space Surveillance and Tracking (EU SST) Front Desk operations. The Front Desk is the main interface to deliver SST information and services between the SST Partnership and the user community, including activities related to user coordination, service performance, engagement and communication. EUSPA is also contributing to the system’s security monitoring.

On the second day of space EUSPA sent to me

2 exciting funding opportunities

2023 saw the start of a new Horizon Europe call. With an overall budget of EUR 34.5 million, the third EUSPA Horizon Europe Call includes five topics and aims to support the development of innovative space downstream applications.  

We also kicked off the CASSINI Challenges The competition supports the development of innovative commercial solutions that leverage EU Space data from EGNOS, Galileo and/or Copernicus.

On the third day of space EUSPA sent to me

A Copernicus anniversary

This year Copernicus celebrated 25 years of looking at our planet and its environment for the benefit of all European citizens. 

By developing new markets and applications for Copernicus, EUSPA helps turn Earth Observation (EO) data into action. For example, using numerical modelling and EO images, including those provided by Copernicus, oceanographers were able to forecast that the marine heat waves that plagued the Mediterranean region last summer will only continue to increase in intensity, frequency and scope.

Copernicus data is also being used to help select the right site for renewable energy infrastructure, reduce the agricultural sector’s use of pesticides and monitor Europe’s forests – to name only a few of the service’s many uses. 

On the fourth day of space EUSPA sent to me

Galileo High Accuracy 

When Galileo began delivering its High Accuracy Service (HAS) in January, it became the first GNSS programme to provide free-of-charge, high accuracy Precise Point Positioning (PPP) corrections worldwide both through the Galileo signal-in-space (E6-B) and via the internet.  

The precise corrections provided by the Galileo HAS allow users to improve the accuracy associated with the orbit, clocks and biases provided through the Galileo Open Service broadcast navigation messages and the GPS Standard Positioning Service navigation data. These corrections enable the computation of a high accuracy positioning solution in real-time when processed by an appropriate algorithm in the users’ receivers tracking the Galileo signal.

On the fifth day of space EUSPA sent to me

5 flagship reports

Thanks to such publications as the EO and GNSS Market Report (new edition coming soon!), GNSS User Technology Report and the GNSS Investment Report, EUSPA has positioned itself as the leading provider of critical market intelligence.

This year, the Agency added two new titles with the launch of the inaugural Secure SATCOM Market and User Technology Report and the first EU Space for Green Transformation Report.

On the sixth day of space EUSPA sent to me

A more secure space sector

EUSPA plays an important security role, a role that has given it the moniker of ‘security gatekeeper of the EU Space Programme’. As such, EUSPA continues to take steps to ensure the security of the Programme and the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the data and services it provides. 

In March, EUSPA participated in the EU’s Space Threat Response Architecture (STRA) exercise, during which it demonstrated that its mission of implementing the operational security of Galileo is fulfilled.

EUSPA’s security expertise also makes it well-positioned to support the objectives of the recently adopted EU Space Strategy for Security and Defence, which proposes actions to strengthen the resilience and protection of space systems and services in the EU. 

On the seventh day of space EUSPA sent to me

EGNOS V3 test signals

With a new payload in service, the EGNOS space segment is ready to transmit the first EGNOS version 3 test signals. This next generation of EGNOS will augment both GPS and Galileo in the L1 and L5 bands. It is also set to provide additional SBAS service capabilities through a new channel on L5 and will deliver increased EGNOS service availability within and beyond the EU to support a growing number of users.

On the eighth day of space EUSPA sent to me

Support for space-based entrepreneurs 

As the go-to-source for all things EU Space, EUSPA has supported more than 1000 companies with information, funding, expertise and market intelligence that they can use when integrating European space solutions into their business solutions. 

On the ninth day of space EUSPA sent to me

Good news about GOVSATCOM

The implementation of GOVSATCOM continues to move forward. This year, EUSPA helped the European Commission prepare three Implementing Acts, which provide the legal foundation for the services that GOVSATCOM, along with IRIS2, will offer. 

The Agency also lent their technical expertise and provided input from governmental users, the latter of which came from the EUSPA-supported ENTRUSTED project who, earlier this year, successfully demonstrated four operational GOVSATCOM use cases.

On the tenth day of space EUSPA sent to me

Space-based solutions for smarter – and safer – mobility

EU Space is changing how Europe moves. For instance, in the rail sector, more than 150,000 freight wagons are equipped with Galileo/EGNOS receivers to provide more accurate positioning information. 

Meanwhile, in the sky, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) adopted international standards for Galileo and future Satellite Based Augmentation Systems – a major milestone in the aviation industry as it enables us to fully leverage the potential of satellite navigation services developed in Europe in combination with GPS.

EU Space is even having an impact on the high seas. Whether it be EO data from Copernicus, the precise positioning offered by Galileo and EGNOS, or the secure communications of IRIS2 and GOVSATCOM, the services and data provided by the EU Space Programme are playing a key role in securing the maritime transport sector.

On the eleventh day of space EUSPA sent to me

More lives being saved

This year saw the successful demonstration of the new Emergency Warning Satellite Service (EWSS). The service utilises Galileo’s messaging function to transmit emergency alerts and instructions to smartphones, in-vehicle navigation units and even public billboards.   

Meanwhile, in Cyprus, EUSPA participated in a Search and Rescue exercise highlighting the role of the EU Space Programme in maritime operations.

On the twelfth day of space EUSPA sent to me

More ways to go green

As the world gathered for the COP28 in Dubai, here in Europe EU Space is already helping us achieve many of our environmental objectives. For instance, EU Space data and services are important assets to implementing the Green Deal, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and the RePowerEU strategy, amongst others.

Furthermore, Copernicus, Galileo and EGNOS supply the information companies need to monitor environmental indicators, reduce their environmental impact, comply with relevant policies and regulations, become more sustainable and drive their green transformations. 

From all of us at EUSPA, happy holidays! 

Media note: This feature can be republished without charge provided the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) is acknowledged as the source at the top or the bottom of the story. You must request permission before you use any of the photographs on the site. If you republish, we would be grateful if you could link back to the EUSPA website (http://www.euspa.europa.eu).

Updated: Dec 29, 2023