Galileo's second launch of 2 satellites is confirmed for 28th September 2012. The resulting 4-satellite mini-constellation will enable testing of the functioning of the vast Galileo infrastructure.
This also means that European enterprises can start to develop and test innovative products based on the Galileo satellite navigation signals. Today's announcement by European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani together with Jean Yves Le Gall, Chairman and CEO of Arianespace, in the presence of industry CEOs involved in the programme, was reached in agreement with the European Space Agency. The ramp up of the system progresses on schedule with more frequent launches in the planning for 2013. All launches take place from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana.
Europe's investment in satellite navigation technology opens the global market for European industry. This market is currently valued at €125 billion and expected to increase to €250 billion by 2020. Galileo will provide possibilities for a wide variety of applications in many sectors of the European economy, such as electricity grids, fleet management companies, financial transactions, shipping industry, rescue operations or peace-keeping missions.
Galileo Navigation system
The launch date was set in agreement with the European Space Agency which implements the programme on behalf of the European Commission. All four IOV (In-Orbit Validation) satellites were produced by EADS Astrium.
Galileo will allow users to know their exact position in time and space, just like GPS, but with greater precision and reliability. Under European civilian control, Galileo will be compatible and, for some of its services, interoperable with the American GPS, but independent from it.
The Galileo programme implementation has been structured in two phases:
The in-orbit validation (IOV) phase consists of the deployment tests and the operation of four satellites and their related ground infrastructure. This phase is on-going.
The full operational capability (FOC) phase consists of the deployment of the remaining ground and space infrastructure. It includes an initial operational capability phase of 18 operational satellites. The full system will consist of 30 satellites in orbit, as well as 2 satellites on the ground to replace those in orbit if necessary, and include control centres located in Europe and a network of sensor stations and uplink stations installed around the globe.
Background on procurement of Galileo components
The procurement of services essential for Galileo’s full operational capability is divided into six contracts. In January 2010, three contracts were awarded to Thales Alenia Space (IT), OHB System AG (DE) and Arianespace to ensure, respectively, system engineering support, the provision of 14 satellites and the launch services (IP/10/7). A fourth contract was signed in Brussels in October 2010 with SpaceOpal for operating the space and ground infrastructure (IP/10/1382). In June 2011 (IP/11/772) the final two remaining contracts were signed with Thales Alenia Space (FR) for the ground mission infrastructure and Astrium (UK) for the ground control infrastructure.
In February 2012 (IP/12/95) a further 8 satellites were ordered from OHB (to add to the 18 satellites already ordered). Of these 18 satellites, 2 are already in orbit since 21st October 2011 and are performing well. A contract booking launches with Arianespace was signed at the same time. A third contract for the adaptation of the Ariane 5 launcher, enabling it to carry 4 Galileo satellites per launch was signed with Astrium SAS (FR) thereby accelerating the deployment of the constellation and bringing to 26 the number of satellites in orbit by end 2015.