[Satellite TODAY 06-27-11] The European Commission (EC) purchased six more satellites to add to the total Galileo global positioning satellite network and cut $717 million from the final bill, according to EC documents released June 24. The total cost of the program is now estimated at 4.8 billion euros ($6.79 billion).
Galileo, which is being designed to match the U.S. GPS and Russian Glonass systems, will now constitute a total of 24 satellites in orbit, with the first satellites expected to be put into operational service in 2014. The EC estimates Galileo will deliver 60 billion euros ($84.9 billion) to the European economy over 20 years.
An additional 500 million euros ($708.2 million) will be spent to add the extra six satellites to Galileo, “accelerating the completion date of the project and providing greater positional accuracy,” according to the documents.
Earlier this week, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Union (EU) awarded major ground segment contracts to Astrium and Thales Alenia Space for Galileo’s ground segment totaling about $500 million.