Navigation: the EU programmes

Galileo is a programme directed by the European Commission in collaboration with ESA. It aims at developing a civilian global satellite navigation system and making it available to a wide range of users. Galileo will comprise 27 satellites plus three in reserve. The first Galileo test satellites began transmitting signals to Earth as early as 2006. Germany plays a significant part in building and operating Galileo. 

One of two Galileo control centres is domiciled in Germany, and the first 18 operational satellites will be built by German manufacturers. The remaining twelve satellites are to come from Germany as well. The Space Administration supports German companies through national technology preparation platforms. At the same time, we have to be ready for the next generation of Galileo satellites. This requires us to underpin the system capability of our industry, improve key technologies further, and develop new receiver concepts with integrity functions.

EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) is now fully operational. EGNOS is a European add-on to boost the quality of GPS. EGNOS increases the positioning precision of GPS on European territory to between one and three metres. In the future, EGNOS will be similarly used to enhance the accuracy of Galileo.

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