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Transport • Data management • Feb 2019

Proact supports Czech truck manufacturer Tatra to introduce new intelligent data management solution

Leading data centre and cloud service provider Proact has helped one of the world’s oldest vehicle manufacturers, Tatra, to resolve data backup challenges in its server environment • By introducing Proact’s fast and readily available solution, Tatra is eliminating downtime to drive higher productivity

Tatra’s previous backup solution was highly complex and used technologies that did not integrate or work well together. In turn this drove up the cost of running the infrastructure and required more time to complete tasks.

Acknowledging that a new backup model was needed to effectively underpin its servers, Tatra explored the market for a reliable partner to help simplify this environment.

Thanks to its vast experience with designing and implementing backup solutions, Proact was chosen for this project. Pavel Očkovič, who leads the Information Technology department at Tatra, has been satisfied with the solution since its introduction.

"The quality of the solution has confirmed that we made the right decision in choosing Proact. The company’s specialists are amongst the best in their field and it’s great that we can rely on them.”

Proact’s solution, which is based on highly available architecture, met Tatra’s requirements for the server backup system to integrate well with existing infrastructure components. Leaving difficult and timely backup processes behind, the new solution runs seamlessly on leading virtualisation tools that are fast, easy-to-manage and save costs.

In addition to implementing the solution, Proact has provided training for employees to make the most of this powerful technology.

Proact’s Professional Services also ensured that the transition to the new system caused as little disruption as possible. Očkovič adds: “As to be expected, there were some difficulties during the implementation phases of the project, but these were resolved quickly and effectively as a result of Proact’s professionalism and knowledge.

“Choosing the most suitable technology doesn’t mean you're done; you have to select the right specialists who know how to use the technology and understand it. It’s undeniable that Proact has perfectly fulfilled that role for us." Now the backup solution is in place, Tatra is achieving more granularity when recovering backups.

For example, the team can easily recover a single deleted email. The vehicle manufacturer is also benefitting from automated backups through pre-defined scripts. These automation capabilities are not only improving efficiency, but allow IT resources to invest more time into strategic projects. The Proact solution can also scale in-line with the anticipated growth.

Vít Létavka, Managing Director at Proact in the Czech Republic, says: “It’s great to see that our solution is improving backup processes at Tatra. With vehicles known for their reliability and excellence, we’ve aligned our intelligent data management solution with these core values to create a model that can underpin the company well into the future.” • Source: Proact (2/19)


Ready for take-off: Launch of new data model boosts space science

6 planets, 2 moons & 1 comet - not often in space science does a single project offer new insights in such numbers of objects in our solar system. The Europe-wide consortium IMPEx does exactly that and now reports significant progress.

For the first time in space science a newly developed data model will directly connect simulation results with observational data from space missions. This long awaited progress will enable joint operations of computational models with spacecraft measurements.

This will allow scientists to better understand complex observational data, to fill numerical gaps in observations and to verify both, observations and simulations. The main application of the data model will thus be research into plasma and magnetic environments of various planetary objects.

Currently there are numerous space missions in operation at the same time. Despite their billions of dollar costs they all are hampered by one decisive disadvantage: they are left to their own devices. Literally.

Due to the complexity of space exploration, instruments and devices are purpose made and data acquisition as well as number crunching follows individual protocols. This in turn makes the exchange and sharing of observational data between missions and sophisticated computational models developed by third parties a "Mission Impossible". A fact that makes the assessment of their reliability challenging. A consortium of scientists from Austria, Finland, France and Russia has now changed all that.


As part of the EU-funded project IMPEx, the scientists succeeded in establishing a data model that for the first time bridges the gap between spacecraft measurements and modern computational models.

Focussing initially on plasma and magnetic environments of numerous planets, moons and comets, the team managed to have an operating data model (including adapted software tools and simulation databases) up and running in less than three years after the project start in 2011. Commenting on this success, Dr. Maxim Khodachenko, project coordinator and senior scientist at the Space Research Institute (IWF) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, says: "Our data model, which was developed by our French partners from LATMOS and CDPP in cooperation with Finnish and Russian project partners, will greatly aid the simulation of planetary phenomena and the interpretation of space missions measurements. Furthermore it will allow testing models versus experimental data, as well as to fill gaps in the measurements with data from appropriate modelling runs. All these are important advances that will help to perform preparation of mission operations and solve technological tasks."

One specific focus of the project is the visualisation of observational data in conjunction with computational model results. Therefore the newly developed data model is already supported by tools like e.g. 3DView that allows the visualisation of planetary orbits, the trajectories of space crafts, and model simulated data in great detail and in 3D. Even models of so called bow shocks (the area between a magnetosphere and interplanetary space) and magnetopauses can be visualised and analysed.

For an impression of the visualisation power of IMPEx look this video.


In fact numerous space missions will directly benefit from the research of IMPEx in general and from the finalised and further elaborated data model in specific. These missions include BepiColombo for Mercury, Venus Express for Venus, Cluster and Themis for Earth, Mars Express for Mars, Galileo, Juno and Juice for Jupiter and its moon Ganymede as well as Cassini for Saturn and its moon Titan.

But also the Rosetta mission which reaches its target Comet 67P in November 2014 will take advantage of the data model. One of the biggest challenges the IMPEx team was facing has been the diversity of software systems in all these missions. "There are numerous different systems operating", explains Dr. Esa Kallio from the Finnish partner institute FMI. "Combining all these under a common communication protocol was a real challenge.

We had to define a set of methods of which several are shared between all data bases." Furthermore Vincent Génot, the Project Scientist of IMPEx, adds: "Indeed these methods constitute the core part of the IMPEx protocol that now offers several web-based tools for combining, analysing and visualising both simulation and observational data."

The IMPEx Data Model was recently successfully implemented for the complex magnetohydrodynamics models of space phenomena developed at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), showing its great advances and efficiency in space science applications.

The FP7-Project IMPEx (Integrated Medium for Planetary Exploration) is supported by the European Union Grant agreement number 262863

IMPEx core team from Austria: Maxim Khodachenko (Coordinator) • Tarek Al-Ubaidi (Project manager and IT expert) • Florian Topf (IT expert) • Manuel Scherf (Scientific user support and validation)

International Consortium: Esa Kallio (Deputy Coordinator), FMI, Finland • Vincent Génot (Project Scientist), CNRS/IRAP, France • Michel Gangloff (Work Package Leader), CNRS/IRAP, France • Walter Schmidt (Work Package Leader), FMI, Finland • Igor Alexeev (Work Package Leader), SINP-MSU, Russia • Ronan Modolo (Task Leader), CNRS/LATMOS, France


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Tecnología espacial • Sep 2020

Vega regresa con un nuevo servicio de viaje compartido

El primer vuelo del servicio de viaje compartido de Vega con el dispensador Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS, o "Servicio de Misiones para Naves Pequeñas") para satélites ligeros, despegó del Puerto Espacial Europeo de Kourou (Guayana Francesa) a las 02:51 BST / 03:51 CEST del 3 de septiembre 

El regreso de Vega demuestra las capacidades del nuevo servicio de lanzamiento con un vehículo desarrollado por la ESA y garantiza la continuidad del acceso garantizado e independiente de Europa al espacio.

Con este vuelo, además, concluyen de manera rápida y eficiente las medidas y acciones correctivas efectuadas por la industria bajo la dirección de la ESA como Autoridad de Cualificación del Sistema de Lanzamiento de Vega, siguiendo las recomendaciones de la comisión de investigación independiente que analizó el fallo del vuelo VV15 de Vega del 10 de julio de 2019.

"Ahora que el Puerto Espacial Europeo vuelve a estar operativo, nos enorgullece que Vega vuelva a volar para probar este nuevo servicio de lanzamiento. El primer dispensador SSMS europeo ofrecerá un acceso asequible y rutinario al espacio a pequeños satélites, un nuevo concepto que muestra nuestra respuesta a las nuevas necesidades del mercado", comenta Daniel Neuenschwander, director de Transporte Espacial de la ESA.

Se trata de un vuelo de "prueba de concepto" operado por Arianespace dentro de la iniciativa LLL (Light satellites, Low cost, Launch opportunities, o "satélites Ligeros, Bajo coste, oportunidades de Lanzamiento") de la ESA, acordada por el Consejo de la ESA a nivel ministerial que tuvo lugar en 2016 para allanar el camino a los servicios rutinarios para satélites ligeros empleando los lanzadores europeos Vega/Vega-C y Ariane 6.

El dispensador SSMS es una estructura liviana y modular de fibra de carbono, diseñada para transportar múltiples cargas útiles ligeras al espacio, que se puede configurar muy poco antes del lanzamiento para que transporte múltiples cantidades y tamaños de satélites. Así, Vega puede ofrecer oportunidades de lanzamiento cómodas y asequibles para satélites pequeños sin los inconvenientes de viajar como carga secundaria junto a satélites mucho mayores. Una vez desplegados los satélites, el dispensador saldrá de órbita para evitar convertirse en basura espacial.

"Este lanzamiento demuestra la capacidad de la ESA de aprovechar las innovaciones para abaratar costes, ser más flexible y ágil, y avanzar hacia la comercialización", señala el director general de la ESA, Jan Wörner. "Esta mayor capacidad de acceder al espacio para pequeños satélites innovadores tendrá numerosos efectos positivos en distintos ámbitos, desde la investigación medioambiental hasta la demostración de nuevas tecnologías". 

Los satélites pequeños ofrecen nuevas oportunidades a empresas y gobiernos de acceder al espacio con fines comerciales o de investigación, y son esenciales para la economía NewSpace.

Vega transportaba siete microsatélites con masas de 15 kg a 150 kg, así como 46 CubeSats para su puesta en órbitas heliosíncronas a una altitud de entre 515 y 530 km. El último satélite se liberó unos 104 minutos tras el despegue.

Alrededor de la mitad de la masa total de los 53 satélites agregados por Arianespace al lanzamiento de hoy proceden de países europeos (con representación de ocho de ellos) y la ESA ha contribuido al desarrollo de cuatro: el microsatélites ESAIL, de 113 kg, y los CubeSats Simba, Picasso y FSSCat/Φ-sat-1.  

El satélite ESAIL, construido en Luxemburgo por LuxSpace, ayudará a proveer la próxima generación de servicios basados en el espacio para el tráfico marítimo. Rastreará buques por todo el mundo detectando sus mensajes del sistema de identificación automática, lo que mejorará la seguridad en el mar. También ayudará en la vigilancia de pesquerías y la protección del medioambiente.

Simba, dirigido por el Real Instituto Meteorológico de Bélgica junto a la Universidad de Lovaina e ISISpace (Países Bajos), es un CubeSat que empleará un radiómetro en miniatura para medir dos variables climáticas importantes: la radiación solar entrante y la radiación terrestre saliente en todas las longitudes de onda, así como para demostrar un sistema de control de actitud preciso. Picasso, con un tamaño similar y liderado por el Real Instituto de Aeronomía Espacial de Bélgica con VTT Finland y Clyde Space (Reino Unido), medirá la distribución del ozono estratosférico, la temperatura en la mesosfera empleando un sistema de imágenes multiespectrales en miniatura recién desarrollado y la densidad de los electrones en la ionosfera usando un conjunto de cuatro nuevas sondas electrostáticas.

La misión Federated Satellite Systems (FSSCat), propuesta por la Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya durante la edición de Copernicus Masters de 2017, ha sido desarrollada por un consorcio de empresas e instituciones europeas. Constituye la primera iniciativa de la ESA con inteligencia artificial a bordo de una misión de observación de la Tierra. Esta tecnología pionera, denominada Φ-sat-1 (que se pronuncia "fisat-1"), permitirá enviar a la Tierra únicamente datos utilizables. De este modo se asegurará un manejo eficiente de los datos para que los usuarios puedan acceder a la información con rapidez, lo que en última instancia beneficiará a toda la sociedad.

El vuelo de hoy de Vega ha sido financiado en parte por la Unión Europea dentro del programa Horizonte 2020 en el marco del acuerdo de contribución entre la ESA y la UE para actividades espaciales firmado el 16 de abril de 2019. Sirve de apoyo para la demostración y validación en vuelo de este nuevo servicio de viaje compartido, así como del servicio de lanzamiento del microsatélite UPMSat-2.

Vega y sus cargas útiles se han conservado en perfectas condiciones, y las baterías se han recargado después de que las inclemencias meteorológicas a gran altitud por encima del Puerto Espacial Europeo interrumpieran varios intentos de lanzamiento en el mes de junio.



Railway interoperability • Europe

The European railway will soon be improved with better interoperability, enhanced safety, more transparent information for users and clearer labour rights for workers following the vote today on the fourth railway package by the European Parliament.

Socialists and Democrats welcome the new legislation as a good balance for a highly needed updating of EU-wide rules and technical standards.

S&D spokesperson on transport, MEP Saïd El Khadraoui, said:

"Interoperability will create a true European railway network. By December 2019 interoperable ticketing and information systems have to be set up, which shall give passengers access to all data needed to plan a journey, reserve and buy their tickets, regardless the operator or combination of operators they use.

"Our main priorities have been achieved. We Socialists and Democrats wanted to make sure that market opening will not undermine the protection of public service obligations (PSO).

"Another important goal we achieved is to protect workers' rights. Railway companies will have to respect collective agreements in force in the member states they wish to operate in as a condition to obtain and keep their operating licence.

MEP Inés Ayala, S&D shadow rapporteur for the technical reports of the legislation, said:

"The new interoperability directive will reduce the production costs for rail rolling stock and establish a one-stop shop for market authorisations with the aim of reducing the existing 26 national procedures to one single passport.

"We need to maintain the good safety record of railways in the EU, while at the same time reducing the 11,000 existing national rules that block the growth of a true single railway area. In fact we have guaranteed even higher safety standards.

"Also, following the example of the aviation sector, national agencies will have to present emergency and rescue plans as well as a system for providing care for victims following an accident." • 2/14



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