On 1 August 2014, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and Telespazio, a Finmeccanica/Thales company, reconfirmed their cooperation for the operation of the European satellite navigation programme Galileo.
Continuity, stability and performance
"DLR is continuing its successful partnership in the Galileo programme with Telespazio. We are thus ensuring stability and continuity for the operation of the Galileo system – both for the present and in the future," stated Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the DLR Executive Board.
The Italian-German cooperation is implemented through Spaceopal GmbH joint venture, which is jointly owned by Telespazio and DLR Space Applications (GfR), a wholly owned subsidiary of DLR. Spaceopal has been responsible for the preparation and implementation of overall Galileo operations since 2010.
The tasks of the Spaceopal team include the control of the Galileo satellites, the navigation data processing and monitoring of the worldwide receiving systems. A special feature of the Galileo operation is its implementation using two control centres, one in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany and an identical one in Fucino, Italy.
The two control centres are already operating four Galileo satellites, and at least two more satellites will follow this year. Galileo is of major strategic importance for the European Union and its Member States. The focus of the programme is therefore the further deployment of the infrastructure and the forthcoming introduction of initial services.
The European Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Agency (GSA) will gradually take over the management of the operational phase of Galileo. DLR GfR and Telespazio are prepared to act with Spaceopal as core partners for the GSA – not only for the operation of the Galileo system, but also with regard to the provision of navigation services for the global user community.
Spaceopal manages the overall operation of the Galileo system. The detailed operational tasks will be carried out by the Galileo control centres in Oberpfaffenhofen (DLR GfR mbH) and in Fucino (Telespazio), along with the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), the French space agency (CNES) and industry partners Airbus Defence & Space, SES-RSS, British Telecom Global Service, Vitrociset Belgium und T-Systems International.
Galileo is a programme financed by the European Union, mandated by the European Commission and implemented by the European Space Agency (ESA).