Finmeccanica, SpaceOpal Win Galileo Infrastructure Contract
[Satellite TODAY 10-27-10] A joint venture between the German Aerospace Center’s SpaceOpal and Finmeccanica’s Telespazio SpA won a 194 million euro ($271 million) contract to provide space and ground infrastructure for the European Union’s (EU) Galileo land- and air-traffic control network observation platform, the companies announced Oct. 26.
The contract — the fourth of six contracts for the procurement of Galileo’s operational capability, which is scheduled to begin in 2014 — covers industrial services needed to support the European Space Agency in operating the satellites and ground system. In January, the European Commission (EC) awarded three Galileo contracts worth a total of about 1 billion euros ($1.38 billion) for engineering support, launch vehicles and satellites. The remaining contracts will cover the completion of the ground infrastructure and be awarded in early 2011.
The EC and EU recently have come under fire by European budget agencies and from the German government, which submitted a proposal Oct. 24 to the EC requesting that the commission cut Galileo’s costs after an EC report showed the program over budget and behind schedule. “We are fully committed to the roll-out of the system. Europe will have its own independent satellite navigation system capable of high precision and reliability,” EU Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani said in a statement.