The European GNSS Agency (GSA) threw open its doors for the 5th year in a row on 8-9 November to welcome visitors to the GSA Open Days 2019. With a wide range of activities targeted at the general public, this year’s event received nearly 2000 visitors from the Czech Republic and across Europe, including families with kids, young adults interested in science and technology, space enthusiasts and young professionals interested in technology and EU affairs.
The GSA Open Days give the public an opportunity to learn about and experience applications based on the EU space programmes Galileo and EGNOS. The theme of this year’s event was Accuracy Matters and the importance of accuracy for a wide range of applications was underlined in a series of seminars, quizzes and workshops in Czech and English held at various times throughout both days.
Landing a plane with EGNOS
Over 350 students from Czech schools and universities registered to attend the event, and this number was augmented by visitors from neighbouring schools who dropped by in the afternoon to take part in the many exciting activities on offer. These included the chance to be a pilot and land an airbus A350 using EGNOS. EGNOS is mainly used in aviation and offers tangible benefits to operators using European skies. By minimising the frequency of aborted landings EGNOS helps in reducing CO2 emissions, delays and noise pollution.
“End users are at the centre of the European space programme, which was developed with the core aim of benefitting the lives of Europeans. Throwing open the doors of our Prague home to the public gives us at the GSA the opportunity to meet with the beneficiaries of Galileo and EGNOS while giving end users the chance to learn more about the GSA and the benefits of Europe’s investment in space,” GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides said.
Galileo to the rescue!
Visitors also had for the first time the opportunity to become initiated in cryptography, decrypt messages, and learn more about Galileo security. This section raised a lot of interest amongst visitors.
Galileo's Search and Rescue feature was also in focus, with visitors able to experience a live rescue in the snow-capped Alps with the help of Galileo and be rescued at sea, thanks to Galileo’s added accuracy.
A new addition to this year’s programme focused on the importance of EGNOS in precision agriculture, which is developing at an unprecedented pace with more than 85% of EU farmers now using EGNOS. A farming game gave visitors the chance to test for themselves how EGNOS is optimising tractor use on farms.
And this: MyGalileoApp: the results are in!
With Galileo expected to reach Full Operational Capability in less than 18 months the GSA is growing and, to help meet this demand the GSA’s HR department featured its very own stand at the Open Days to inform visitors about the Agency’s recruitment processes and future openings.
See you next year
In total, GSA staff delivered more than 15 workshops over the 2 days and answered thousands of questions from visitors. Visitors also met with this year’s special guest - Martin Rota, a Czech YouTuber passionate about science and space.
If you were lucky enough to attend this year’s Open Days, then we hope you had an enjoyable visit. If not – then we hope to see you next year, when we will present more success stories from Galileo and EGNOS. In the meantime remember - when close isn’t good enough…#Use Galileo!
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