RUAG Space to Build the Brain for Next 12 Galileo Satellites

Rendition of a Galileo satellite on orbit. Photo: ESA.

Rendition of a Galileo satellite on orbit. Photo: ESA.

Arianespace launched four additional Galileo satellites this afternoon from Kourou in French Guiana, aboard an Ariane 5 rocket. These are all carrying a control and data unit from RUAG Space, as well as further electronics and mechanical products designed and manufactured at sites in Sweden, Switzerland and Austria.

OHB System, which is the prime contractor for the Galileo satellites, has now tasked RUAG Space to produce an additional 12 control and data units for Galileo. This on-board computer controls and monitors the navigation payload and numerous other subsystems. It will also monitor the satellite’s status, for example the temperature – taking actions to ensure that the satellites remain fully functional. The company will deliver these units between November 2018 to October 2019.

Further electronics contributions include the receiver electronics and antennas on the satellite needed to determine the position of a person or item on earth. Furthermore, RUAG provides the power supply modules for the Search and Rescue (SAR) transponder.

RUAG Space will also supply the mechanisms used to align the Galileo satellites’ solar array. As a satellite orbits the Earth, it continuously changes its alignment to the sun. Special mechanisms known as Solar Array Drive Mechanisms (SADMs) ensure that the solar array precisely tracks these changes in order to obtain the maximum energy yield by optimizing the orientation of the solar cells relative to the sun.

Lastly, RUAG Space is producing a thermal insulation blanket. The Galileo satellites will be wrapped up almost entirely in this blanket to ensure that the sensitive onboard electronics are not damaged by the extreme temperature fluctuations encountered by the satellites in space.

Today’s launch will bring the total Galileo constellation to 22, boosting the global availability of navigation signals.

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