The foundation stone was laid yesterday at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) establishment in Oberpfaffenhofen for the new control centre for Europe's Galileo satellite navigation system. The first official step in the construction of the ground segment for the high-precision European navigation system was taken in the presence of the Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, Wolfgang Tiefensee, the Bavarian Minister-President, Dr. Edmund Stoiber, and the Chairman of DLR, Prof. Dr Sigmar Wittig.
Foundation stone for galileo control centre laid at DLR Oberpfaffenhofen
Once the control centre with its three control rooms is completed in spring 2008, it will be formally handed over to DLR. It will then enable up to 100 scientists and engineers to control up to 30 satellites. Installation of the control and monitoring equipment is set to begin in September 2007.
DLR chairman Prof. Dr Wittig was delighted at this important step, particularly in view of the many years of complex negotiations at the European level. "The laying of the foundation stone today marks the first important tangible step towards autonomy for Europe in the field of satellite-aided navigation. The fact that the Galileo control centre is being built here at Oberpfaffenhofen, which is also home to the German Space Operations Centre, is a tribute to DLR's expertise in satellite control,” he said.
A total of €16 million is being invested in the new control centre. The state of Bavaria provided €10 million and the other €6 million was sourced from federal funds.
The first operative Galileo satellites are scheduled for launch in September and December 2008.
The architectural firm Schultes Frank Architekten was awarded the contract to design the new control centre following an architectural competition.