22 July 2008

NavSAS at the GNSS Summer School

Here is the report of the first day at the Second International Summer School on Global Satellite Navigation Systems by Gianluca Falco, a NavSAS Ph.D.

After a long trip, finally I reached Berchtsgaden, a quite small village close to the Bavarian Alps that is the established site for the GNSS summer school. Few minutes after my arrival, I had the chance to meet some participants to this school. They come from a lot of countries spread all over the world: Germany (of course), Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Poland, Romania, Russia, also outside Europe such as Brazil, Australia, USA, and even from Rwanda! I spoke with lots of them: four of them work for Septentrio company in Belgium, other guys work for DLR (German Aerospace Agency) testing GNSS system. Then I talked with Russian guys that work for the Russian Space Agency in Moscow (of course the navigation system they use is GLONASS).

At 6 PM professor Guenther Hein started the opening ceremony.
He provided us an overview of what we'll do in the next ten days of the school, speaking about the content of the lectures we'll follow. A very interesting topic of his speech is that we'll have the chance to receive and test a real Galileo signal computing the user's position thanks to three pseudo-like satellites set up on the top of the mountains nearby Berchtsgaden.

Then he introduced three other famous professors: Prof. Per Enge of Standford University, Prof. Michel Bousquet of ISAE (French Aerospace Engineering Institute) and Prof. R. Grohe of the Technical University in Aachen.

Then we moved to the Congress Hall to follow a lecture given by Thomas Reiter, a former astronaut for ESA who experienced twice how life in space is. In fact he was on board engineer for the Euromir mission in March 1995 when he spent 179 days on board of the space station. Then a couple of years ago he took part to the Astrolab mission, the first European long-term mission on board the international space station. During this lecture he showed us some videos about life on board a space station and what are the tasks that each astronauts has to fulfill every day to maintain a right working of the space station. Then he explained us that a lot of experiment were made inside the space station: biologic ones (about the study of the growth of some vegetables and to make them more robust against disease), tests about plasma particles (used for example to manufacture more advanced semiconductors) and, last but not least, lot of tests on human beings focused, in particular, on heart check up.