The Galileo Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen was the focus of the first system tests of Galileo, the future European satellite navigation system. As the main contractor for the operation of the Galileo satellites in the in-orbit validation phase, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) coordinates the operational tasks of Galileo together with its recently established company DLR Gesellschaft für Raumfahrtanwendungen (GfR) mbH.
From the control centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, the operations teams of ESA, DLR GfR, CNES and ESOC successfully conducted the first operations procedures with a test model of the satellite. The test model is currently located at the integration site in Rome. A team of 50, which also included the satellite manufacturer Astrium Germany, was involved in preparing and carrying out this important system test. The results achieved are of major importance for the further preparations for the launch of the first Galileo satellites scheduled for late 2010.
Command and Control of the Satellite Systems
In addition to the successful testing of the data connection between the Galileo Control Centre Oberpfaffenhofen and the satellite integration site, the first commands to the satellite systems were sent, and the satellite data received and analysed. Besides testing the uplink and sensor units on the satellite and the position control system, the propulsion system was successfully tested from Oberpfaffenhofen. The operational procedures were executed according to pre-defined, clear rules and to a similar extent that would be expected for the real satellite launches and the control of the satellites. The partnership between the companies involved, under the leadership of the ESA and DLR GfR Operations Management, worked extremely well and is crucial for the success of Galileo.
The results achieved flow directly into the subsequent preparation activities in order to further optimise processes. The infrastructure of the control centre, which was established in 2008, was successfully implemented during the system test and shows that the Galileo Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen is well prepared for the Galileo launches.