Kimberly Camil­leri be­comes the first Mal­tese to visit space… sort of

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Kimberly Camil­leri has be­come the first Mal­tese to be launched into outer space, in a way, af­ter a Euro­pean satellite named af­ter the Mal­tese stu­dent who won a draw­ing com­pe­ti­tion back in 2012 was suc­cess­fully launched into or­bit last week.

Kimberly, who was 11 years of age when she won an EU draw­ing com­pe­ti­tion, has had a Galileo Pro­gramme satellite named af­ter her. That satellite was suc­cess­fully put into last week as part of the pro­gramme.

The Galileo Pro­gramme, Europe’s in­de­pen­dent satellite nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, will launch at least 27 satel­lites, al­low­ing Europe to re­main at the fore­front of space-re­lated tech­nolo­gies. It will en­sure Euro­pean ac­cess to satellite nav­i­ga­tion in­de­pen­dently from the Amer­i­can GPS sys­tem. The satellite sys­tem will have many ap­pli­ca­tions in­clud­ing trans­porta­tion man­age­ment and mo­bile phone ap­pli­ca­tions.

With the most re­cent launch, of four Galileo satel­lites, the Galileo con­stel­la­tion now has 18 satel­lites in or­bit out of the min­i­mum 24 needed for world­wide cov­er­age.

This is the first time that a Euro­pean launcher, Ariane-5, was used for Galileo. The new satel­lites will now ac­cel­er­ate the de­ploy­ment of Europe’s own global satellite nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem Galileo.

Maroš Še­fčovič, Vice-Pres­i­dent for the En­ergy Union, com­mented: “The lat­est Galileo launch shows that Europe is at the fore­front of space tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ments and now has au­ton­o­mous ac­cess to space. Galileo will bring con­crete ben­e­fits for peo­ple, com­pa­nies and pub­lic au­thor­i­ties. With its pre­cise satellite nav­i­ga­tion ser­vices, it will un­der­pin a range of ser­vices from trans­port, agri­cul­ture, health, elec­tric­ity grids, fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions, res­cue oper­a­tions and many oth­ers”.

Elż­bi­eta Bieńkowska, Com­mis­sioner for In­ter­nal Mar­ket, In­dus­try, En­trepreneur­ship and SMEs, added: “The Galileo launch was a great suc­cess. With more satel­lites in or­bit, Galileo will soon be able to of­fer the first ser­vices for its users. We will also build on the suc­cess of the Ariane V launcher to guar­an­tee Europe’s au­ton­o­mous ac­cess to space and strengthen Europe’s po­si­tion as a key space player.”

As an im­por­tant part of the Com­mis­sion’s Space Strat­egy, Galileo will bring ex­tra ac­cu­racy in global po­si­tion­ing and tim­ing in­for­ma­tion ser­vices once op­er­a­tional. As part of the ini­tial ser­vices, to be avail­able soon, Galileo will help to sup­port search and res­cue oper­a­tions, emer­gency ser­vices and po­lice forces as well as pro­vide freely ac­ces­si­ble satellite data on po­si­tion­ing, ve­loc­ity and tim­ing. Galileo is ex­pected to be­come fully op­er­a­tional from 2020.

By then, it should help to im­prove in-car nav­i­ga­tion and mo­bile phone sig­nals, help road and rail trans­port be­come safer and act as a cat­a­lyst for R&D and high-tech job cre­ation around Europe.

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