ESA Issues $500 Million in Key Galileo Ground Segment Contracts

By | June 24, 2011 | Feature, Government

[Satellite TODAY Insider 06-24-11] The European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Union (EU) awarded major ground segment contracts to Astrium and Thales Alenia Space for Galileo — Europe’s global navigation satellite system.

    Thales Alenia Space was issued a four-year, 281 million euro ($397.5 million) to develop and deploy the ground-based Galileo Mission Segment (GMS) and the Galileo Security Facility (GSF).
    The system’s GMS is comprised of a global network of sensor stations to monitor the signals from the satellites, a chain of Earth stations to uplink navigation data to the satellites, parallel communications networks and a sequence of processing elements. The system aims to enhance the accuracy of Galileo’s navigation services. The GSF will be responsible for managing user access to Galileo’s encrypted public regulated service (PRS).
    Thales, which is already prime contractor for the precursor European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System (EGNOS) program, said both GSF and GMS systems would be fully operational in 2014 in order to support the first phase of the Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) program.
    Astrium was selected to act as prime contractor for ESA’s Galileo FOC ground control segment under the terms of a 73.5 million euro ($104 million) contract that will see the company provide GCS facilities for Galileo’s operation.
    Astrium will lead a team out of the United Kingdom to build a new facility in Fucino, Italy, and expand an existing Ground Control Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. The deployment also includes the provision of a temporary GCS back-up facility at the Fucino center for four In-Orbit Validation (IOV) satellites, and the provision of two additional telemetry, tracking and command stations. Astrium also will provide the initial Galileo ground segment infrastructure at the Oberpfaffenhofen Galileo facility during the IOV phase.
    “New uses for satellite navigation data are being developed every day, and here in the United Kingdom, we are building the infrastructure to take advantage of the opportunities that involvement in the Galileo program can bring. I am determined that we should continue to foster the strong growth in the U.K. space sector,” U.K. Minister of State for Universities and Science David Willetts said in a statement.

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