An illustration of Europe's satellite navigation system, Galileo
On 25 October 2010, the development of Galileo, the future European satellite navigation system, reached another important milestone. In Brussels, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Spaceopal GmbH signed a contract for the operation of 18 Galileo satellites.
Contract signing in Brussels: ESA and Spaceopal agree the operations of 18 Galileo satellites
Spaceopal is a joint venture between the DLR Space Applications Company (Gesellschaft für Raumfahrtanwendungen mbH; GfR) and the Italian company Telespazio S.p.A. DLR GfR was founded in 2008 in Oberpfaffenhofen, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR). "The signing of this contract demonstrates the strong commitment and the clear political will to create an independent global satellite navigation system in Europe," said the Chairman of the DLR Executive Board, Johann-Dietrich Wörner.
Tasks of the contract partners
The operating agreement between Spaceopal and ESA is the fourth of six contracts for the Galileo deployment phase. The first satellite launches will take place late next year and 18 satellites will be in orbit by October 2014 for the introduction of the first navigation services. Spaceopal is responsible for the preparation and implementation of overall operations.
The specific tasks will include the control of the satellites, monitoring of receiving equipment deployed worldwide and the on-ground processing of navigation data. These tasks will be performed in the two Galileo Control Centres, located in Oberpfaffenhofen and Fucino (Italy) and operated by DLR GfR and Telespazio, respectively. The overall value of the current contract is about 194 million Euro.
Galileo – a European Community project
Galileo is a joint project of the European Union (EU) and ESA. The programme is funded by the EU.
Note: The contents of this document are not an official statement from the EU or ESA.