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International Aeronautical Federation Spring Meeting

Landing in Paris, I was surprised to see cherry blossoms lining along the streets. Charles de Gaulle was busy as usual, if not even busier.

It started off with parallel meetings at the International Academy of Astronautics catching up on meetings and the latest developments over the year. Running parallel across the river was the Moon Village Association on their latest development and news.

As committee members from Space resource to space exploration, from human space flight to entrepreneurship, one could sense the International Aeronautical Federation and strong sense of community. The spring meeting was held at NewCap located a stone throw’s away from Eiffel Tower. It was a wonderful feeling, knowing full well the meeting was along the river.

Delegates entered through the door, greeted by IAF staff and most importantly bidding countries for the next IAC after UAE 2020. The Global Network Forum at the IAF was one of the highlights of the Spring Meeting. The focus was on Geography, Generation and Gender. Launched by the IAF President, Dr. Jean-Yves Le Gall the goal includes:

Geographical diversity and global reach have been traditional features of the IAF since its creation. Attracting the young generation has been in the focus of the IAF during the recent years with manifold newly created activities and programmes tuned to this target community. This has resulted in a significant increase of the number of young people engaged and participating in IAF activities. Gender diversity is still an area where strong progress needs to be achieved. Dedicated promotion of opportunities for female space actors within the Federation and the space sector in general, presenting successful role models and encouraging the young generation of the female space community to aim for leadership positions shall help to reach a balanced and inclusive representation within the governance of the IAF, its Technical and Administrative Committees, as well as the IAC speakers’ and authors’ community.


Implementing the “3G” Diversity Focus as part of the IAF Global Innovation Agenda 2016 – 2019 calls for the creation of an IAF Platform which will allow the Federation to take a leading role in the effort to promote and advance diversity and equality principles amongst a global space community, become an exemplary organisation in terms of geographical, generational, gender and any other diversity aspects, and live up to its motto Connecting @ll Space People.

IAF “3G” IDEA provides a framework for an intensive and open exchange on diversity and equality aspects within the IAF and amongst IAF member organisations as well as potential IAF members and other organisations promoting diversity. On the basis of IAF “3G” IDEA, events of different nature shall be organized during the annual International Astronautical Congress, IAF Global Conferences, IAF Spring Meetings and other occasions, focusing on “3G” diversity topics. Such events can be, but are not limited to:

  • Keynotes or lectures
  • Moderated panel discussions
  • Networking events
  • Mentoring sessions
  • Social events
  • “Diversity” Luncheons or Dinners
  • Competitions and awards ceremonies

Focus of these events shall be to contribute to:

Focus of these events shall be to contribute to:

  • Connecting and engaging space communities in remote areas to IAF activities;
  • Further increasing the involvement of and the offer to the young generation within the Federation and its activities;
    • Reviving the IAF mentoring programme;
  • Attracting specifically the female space community to become active and take over leadership within IAF bodies;
  • Providing an international platform to connect gender diversity organisations from different countries, such as WIA US, WIA Europe, WIA Canada, WIA Africa, WIA Japan, etc.
  • Establishing IAF focus on all diversity aspects and promoting diversity as a basic principle to the entire global space community.

One certainly felt the presence of GNF events and increasing importance also at the Annual IAC conferences. As the IAC2019 would be in DC, there is much anticipation and excitement as it is the 50 years since the Apollo landing.

Once again as a space conference of the greatest breath and depth, the organisers announced that it had the largest number of submitted abstracts well into the 4000s and over 80 plenaries were proposed for 6 slots.

For the upcoming days, particularly on the last day it would be a great challenge for Chairs of committees to select papers for DC. Due to the considerably high numbers of submissions for oral submissions, it has indirectly also resulted in larger number of interactive submissions. What that has caused is almost like a second round of selections, particularly in relation to interactive sessions. It’s important the those whom submit abstracts understand this, because on the contrary to belief, submitting for an interactive session could actually be slightly harder to get accepting, depending on the kind of committee and what the potential category the author submitted their abstract in.

Being part of the process as VP for the Enterprise Risk Management Committee and as Rapporteur for the Space Resources Technologies, Systems, Missions and Policies Committee one can see how the process is not straight forward, particularly as Chairs assess which papers get accepted, put forward for interactive sessions or rejected.

There is an art to this kind of selection. As committee members we sit, discuss and engage in the topics of what is written in the abstract, what is mentioned, what is left out, what needs more work. It is in fact, rather academic, with a healthy dose of practicality as well.

One of the greatest joys in being part of this process is to engage with colleagues from different walks of life, countries and backgrounds in discussing abstracts of mutual interest. For instance, when we discuss risk management, we ask our selves, what is it? What does it mean? How do they access it? What process do they talk to avoid it? Are there contradictions? How can risk managers make better decisions?

The few days flew by, with a few individuals recognised for their achievements, with visions from leaders from various space agencies and also looking forward to UAE2020.

DC is going be great – if we were to access solely based on the abstracts submitted. Even if it’s not that, the fact that the IAC is going to be held in Washington DC is a highlight unto itself. Somehow it seems so appropriate to celebrate 50 years of space in the US. Indirectly we are celebrating the work of NASA and all space agencies or countries whom have contributed to space. Directly, it is about celebration of space and throughout the year we can look forward to events, seminars and upcoming publications on celebrating space.

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GSA funding opportunity: Multi-frequency multipurpose antenna for Galileo – Timing & Synchronisation (T&S)

time 3


gsa 1



Meanwhile, recent advances in GNSS antenna technology are enabling higher flexibility and adaptability, and the future trend is towards the development of multi-purpose antennas that can be used in different platforms and applications. For example, two user-segments that can clearly benefit from these advances are the mass-market for dual-frequency GNSS chipsets (smartphones, portable devices), and the professional market associated with future autonomous vehicles (cars, drones, ships, trains, and tractors).

time 1



Two user groups

The objective of this call for proposals is to further develop Galileo-enabled multi-frequency antennas, close to market, for mass-market and professional applications.

This call for proposal aims at launching up to two projects to develop, test and assess advanced multi-frequency, multi-constellation antennas dedicated to these user groups.

In particular, the project aims to develop and test advanced antenna technology that is:

  • capable of coping with at least the frequencies L1/E1, L5/E5 and E6 (except for the mass market, where at least L1/E1 and L5/E5 should be used);
  • multi-constellation (Galileo and GPS, as a minimum), including additional innovations at the antenna level optimised for one or more mass-market and professional applications; and
  • Commercially ready with a competitive cost.


Fundamental Elements call: At a glance

  • Market segment: Transversal
  • Deadline for submission of proposals: 08 March 2019
  • Expected signature of contract: August to October 2019
  • Maximum budget allocated: EUR 2.800.000
  • Maximum number of projects: 2
  • EU financing amount for each of the two projects: up to EUR 2.800.000 (70% co-funding)
  • Webinar date: 27 November 2018

Timing & Synchronisation (T&S)

GNSS can be used to provide both timing and synchronisation. On the timing side, GNSS provides direct and accurate access to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). On the other hand, synchronisation between receivers at different locations can be established and maintained using GNSS reference time. As a result of these uses, many Telecom and Energy networks now rely on GNSS for synchronization operations, while financial institutions use GNSS to timestamp transactions.

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Car Navigation




When you start looking into car navigation systems, you get a feeling that it is like buying a smart phone.  There are many products and many features and you end up trying to customise a product closely to your habits, preference and even the touch and feel of the product.

Autoquarterly sets out the 10 Best Car GPS Navigation Systems in 2019 and they include:

1.  MingAo GPS Navigator System

2. Garmin Nuvi 57LM GPS Navigator System

3. Garmin DriveSmart 60 NA LMT GPS Navigator System

4. Tvird Car GPS Navigation system

5. Garmin Drive 50 USA LM GPS Navigator System

6.  TomTom VIA 1515M GPS

7. HighSound Navigation System

8.  SHENEN GPS Navigation

9. Magellan RoadMate 1220 GPS Navigator

10. TomTom VIA 1535TM GPS Navigator





Looking through different reviews, each one will have their own rating and own criteria to what makes a great GPS system.  For the ordinary user or consumer, the idea of what is preferable is probably more about the functions than the technical features.  Does it work?  Can I understand it?  Is it easy to use?

And the discussions on the use of satellite navigation systems is even more important now as we embark on the R&D of autonomous cars in an ever- connected society.  Major vehicle manufacturers are now delivering motor vehicles with connected services for drivers, including real-time traffic and weather reports and accident or road works warnings. More applications are on the way, and the technology systems that support them will enable the increasing number of autonomous vehicles that will soon be cruising down our roads and highways.




For Galileo and the Global Navigation Satellite Systems, they offer more than just navigation, including:

  • Precise navigation systems
  • Autonomous vehicles and assisted driving
  • Cooperative ITS
  • Usage-based insurance schemes
  • Road pricing and congestion charging
  • Automated eCall distress signals
  • Intelligent speed adaptation




There are clear advantages for having GNSS within the connected car, and whilst there are many options and discussions including on sensors, perhaps it is best to say there is added value in combining different features.

Think of the idea of reducing expensive sensors and saving cost on infrastructure at the same time.  Accurate and secure GNSS could do both.

The concern of cyber security is there.  At the Rise of AI conference I spoke of the hypothetical situation of an autonomous vehicle car attack and how we would respond to it.  Whilst it is fictitious, it is not so far fetched that we could not possibly imagine it happening.




According to Anna Stylianou of SBD, “As vehicles become completely autonomous, they become more reliant on connected services and GNSS, and even “driver fall-back” in case of error will no longer be an option,” she said. “As a result, the risks associated with hacking or GNSS jamming and spoofing will be even greater.”

GSA Deputy Head of Market Development Fiametta Diani says

Galileo will also have an authentication signal to detect intentional interference, such as spoofing attacks. “This authentication feature is essentially a digital signature that will be available on the E1 Open Service frequency, but also on the Commercial Service E6 frequency, which will certainly be interesting for autonomous driving,” said Diani.

A good reference point to the latest would be the CES2019 gadget show and this year there appears to be less focus on self-driving cars.  There are various reasons why, though perhaps as the conversations on autonomous cars becomes more serious, manufacturers and certain providers need vigorous testing to ensure it is safe.

Executives from Audi, Toyota, Cruise Automation, chipmaker Nvidia, Google spinoff Waymo and several startups are gearing up convince the public that autonomous vehicles are safe.

Moreover, regulators and policymakers are also having to think about how would we best incorporate autonomous vehicles on the road.  There are various conversations and schools of thought on how best to do this, and perhaps it is fair to say, these conversations cannot be had separate to the developments in the shipping, air and space field – primarily the conversation on traffic systems.




Whilst they could be seen as totally separate sectors, the concerns arise when there are hybrid, mixed features where vehicles could potentially rise above airspace or go into deep sea water.  It is thought of that the passenger economy is worth $7 trillion USD which clearly exceeds all of the space sector.  Moreover, it is thought that American commuters spend around 250 hours a year in their car, equivalent of six 40 hour work weeks annually.   Whilst this may not be the case overall, it provides a good idea of what the potential autonomous vehicle could be, particularly when we are talking about hands-free driving.

The Autonomous Vehicles event in Silicon Valley Feb 2019 is going to focus on:

  • Data & Sensors Technology
  • Connectivity & Data Storage
  • Testing – Virtual & Physical
  • Transitioning AV Hardware & Software
  • Public Sector Integration & Regulation
  • UX & HMI for AV
  • Scalability
  • Mobility as a Service





In terms of content, they go into:

1. Transitioning autonomous hardware and software from testing to production – a scaling challenge

2. Optimizing AI and machine learning for safer and better performance by developing complex perception algorithms

3. Developing systems for the miles and miles of Big Data capture, cleaning and labeling

4. Maximizing connectivity and storage for data transfers and processing

The future that we see is limited to our imagination and currently the focus and energy is on how do we make it happen.  The desire is there, the technology is getting there and it is a matter of putting it all together.



What do you think makes a successful NewSpace startup?

What do you think of the role of navigation systems for autonomous cars?

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4th EU-Japan Satellite Positioning Public-Private Roundtable in Tokyo, Japan, on 14 March 2019.


The Cabinet Office of the Goverment of Japan and the European Commission, in cooperation with the European GNSS Agency (GSA), will organise the 4th EU-Japan Satellite Positioning Public-Private Roundtable in Tokyo, Japan, on 14 March 2019.

At the roundtable the EU-Japan GNSS Mission, led by the European Commission, will consist of representatives from European industry, SMEs and start-ups. The National Space Policy Secretariat, from the Cabinet Office of the Goverment of Japan will host the delegation, arranging site visits and meetings with Japanese companies in the field of Automotive, Agriculture, Drones and other GNSS technologies.

During these site visits, the participants will have the opportunity to see demonstrations of autonomous driving, smart agriculture and drones and meet with value-chain makers, application developers and end users.

Opportunity to explore business cooperation

The programme for the event, a final version of which will be announced in January 2019, also includes an overview of the Japanese Space Programme, an update on EU-Japan GNSS cooperation and a networking reception.

The event will provide companies from the EU and Japan with an opportunity to explore potential business cooperation in the application of GNSS technologies.

Registration to participate in the Mission is scheduled to open in mid-January 2019. For more information contact:

Please find more information here.  The above source comes from European GNSS Agency (GSA).

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source: Asteroid Day


LUXEMBOURG (14 February 2019) — Asteroid Day, the official United Nations’ day of global awareness and education about asteroids, will celebrate its fifth anniversary on 30 June. What began as two live stream broadcasts in 2014, now includes thousands of independent events organized by citizens around the world on all five continents. Asteroid Day global programs, including Asteroid Day LIVE, are programs of the Asteroid Foundation, a Luxembourg-based nonprofit organization.

Asteroid Day was co-founded by astrophysicist and famed musician Dr. Brian May of the rock group QUEEN; Apollo 9 Astronaut Rusty Schweickart; Filmmaker Grig Richters; and B612 President Danica Remy, to promote awareness and provide knowledge to the general public about the importance of asteroids in the formation of our universe and the role they play in our solar system today. Events are scheduled during the week of 30 June, the date of the largest asteroid impact of Earth in recorded history (Tunguska).
In just five years, Asteroid Day has evolved to include the participation of all major national space agencies, ESA, JAXA, Roscosmos, and NASA, and prominent scientists, astronomers, educators and media worldwide. In 2016, the United Nations declared Asteroid Day an official day of education, initiated in part by a need to better understand the role of asteroids, following the 15 February, 2013 meteor impact in Chelyabinsk, Russia.



“Our goal is to dedicate one day each year to learn about asteroids, the origins of our universe, and to support the resources necessary to find asteroids,” explains Dr. May.


source: flickr

A principal partner in Asteroid Day is the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg through the Luxembourg Space Agency, which is leading the initiative. “By establishing itself as the European Hub in the future space resources economy, Luxembourg is committed to supporting and nurturing the growing commercial space industry and contributing to the peaceful exploration and sustainable utilization of resources from celestial bodies, including the Moon or near-earth objects such as asteroids,” stated Etienne Schneider, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy of Luxembourg. “Asteroid Day supports the goals of
the initiative by educating the world about asteroids, space missions and what’s possible within the emerging New Space economy.”



Events for Asteroid Day 2019 will take place on all five continents and are in the process
of being organized by local organizations, and include:
● In Europe: Luxembourg’s Ministry of Education, and National Museum of Natural History are organizing events throughout the country. The Natural History Museum Vienna, Austria, will showcase the world’s largest meteorite collection.
In Greece, the new Hellenic Meteorite Museum is hosting a variety of events.



● In North America: Events will be held once again at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas, in addition to other science centers, universities and astronomy clubs throughout the US, Canada and Mexico.

● In South America: A group of astronomical backpackers called Mochileros
Astronomicos, will hitchhike throughout the region to teach astronomy in schools, planetariums, and communities. Astronomical institutions across Brazil will discuss asteroids at events celebrating 100 years of the International Astronomical Union. Chile
will have coordinated activities across the country.

● In Africa: Mozambique will host a special presentation about asteroids on National TV (TVM), in coordination with the International Astronomical Union (IAU), at a special session during the National Astronomical Society Meeting. Egypt’s Scientific Society of Astronomy and Space will hold an event called "Asteroids and Safety of The Earth; at the National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics in Cairo.

● In Asia: Kazakhstan Fesenkov Astrophysical Institute, in Almaty will host lectures and activities for students. Throughout Israel, events are being organized at the Givatayim Observatory, Netanya Planetarium and the Yarqa Space Center.

Themes of Asteroid Day 2019 range from the science of asteroids in the formation of our solar system to discussions of new space industries accelerating technologies to advance space-based activities. Activities will importantly also highlight the current missions advancing efforts to identify the characteristics and trajectories of asteroids and develop greater detection, tracking and deflection techniques: DART, the first demonstration of a kinetic impact technique to change the motion of an asteroid in space.; (NASA/ESA); and two study and sample return missions: Hayabusa 2, (JAXA); and OSIRIX REx (NASA).



Preview of 2019 ASTEROID DAY Events in Luxembourg
Information for public participation at the website

● 27 June: Technical Briefing with Asteroid Experts (by invitation)
● 28 June: Asteroid Day LIVE Global Broadcast-Webcast, produced at RTL Studios
● 29 June: Astronaut and Asteroid Expert meet and greet (public)
● 29 June: Gala Dinner in the unique Cercle Cité, Downtown Luxembourg (tickets on sale)

● 30 June: Asteroid Day at the National Museum of Natural History: Guided tours of the Meteorite Collection and “Universe” Exhibition; Public Lecture “Asteroids… can we deal with the danger?”; Asteroid Workshop for Youth


Asteroid Day LIVE, which debuted in 2017 and expanded last year to 48 hours of live programming, is the first-ever global conversation about asteroids. It is produced by the Asteroid Foundation and broadcast live from the Broadcasting Center Europe (BCE) studio at RTL City in Luxembourg. Asteroid Day LIVE returns in 2019, with an expanded five days of online, broadcast and webcast content and commentary from international experts, five astronauts/cosmonauts, scientists, physicists, educators, and government officials and special guests who serve as Asteroid Day ambassadors. This year will also include five Luxembourg-based space startup companies and five featured global independently organized Asteroid Day events from five different countries.

source: Asteroid Day


Participants in Asteroid Day LIVE 2019 (announced to date):
● Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Director General, ESA
● Etienne Schneider, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of the Economy, Government of Luxembourg
● Marc Serres, CEO, Luxembourg Space Agency
● Simonetta Di Pippo, Director, United Nations Office of Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
● Georges Schmit, Special Envoy for Space Resources, Government of Luxembourg;
Asteroid Foundation Chair
● Rusty Schweickart, Apollo 9 Astronaut; Asteroid Day Co-founder
● Ed Lu, Asteroid Day Expert Panel; Executive Director, Asteroid Institute; three-time NASA astronaut (STS 84, 106 and ISS Expedition 7).
● Nicole Stott, Mission Specialist (STS 128, 133 and ISS Expeditions 20, 21); Astronaut Artist
● Dorin Prunariu, first and only Romanian cosmonaut; Asteroid Day Ambassador
● Alexander Misurkin, Cosmonaut, ISS Commander 2018, Russia
● Danica Remy, President, B612 Foundation; Asteroid Day Co-founder
● Simon (Pete) Worden, President, Breakthrough Institute; former Director, NASA Ames Research Center

● Frans Van Der Donck, Space Policy Expert, The Netherlands
● Ian Carnelli, Project Manager, Hera mission (kinetic impactor validation), ESA
● Mark Boslough, Physicist, Sandia National Labs (ret.); Chair, Asteroid Day Expert Panel
● Lynne Jones, Co-Chair, LSST Solar System Science Collaboration; Asteroid Day Expert Panel
● Robert Jedicke, Asteroid Day Expert Panel; University of Hawaii, US, Institute for Astronomy
● Patrick Michel, Asteroid Day Expert Panel; Senior Researcher, CNRS, Lagrange
laboratory of Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur; Co-I of Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-Rex; lead scientist, ESA Hera mission, France
Asteroid Day LIVE from Luxembourg will be distributed via a dedicated satellite, available on local channels subscribing to the SES satellite network, and via the Asteroid Day website.

For archived programs of 2017 and 2018, see:

Scientists Rock is a seven-part series about asteroids produced by Asteroid Day, which can be viewed on website. Narrated by famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the series includes interviews with UK Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees, Dr. Brian May, Peter Gabriel, and scores of astronauts and asteroid experts.

Major sponsors of Asteroid Day include the Luxembourg Space Agency, B612, Broadcasting Centre Europe (BCE), OHB, SES, and Tomorrow Street, a joint venture of Vodaphone and Technoport. Asteroid Day global programs, including Asteroid Day LIVE, are programs of the Asteroid Foundation, a Luxembourg-based nonprofit organization.

More information:
● Website:

asteroid day3

source: Asteroid Day

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