Galileo is the European satellite navigation system comprising a global satellite-based network for precise positioning and timing information. It will offer services to users in various domains (commercial, safety and security, science, leisure), including guaranteed and certified services for safety-critical applications (civil aviation, emergency services, security). Consisting of 30 spacecraft in Medium Earth Orbit and associated ground infrastructure, the system will be gradually built up over the next years.
Astrium is playing a major role in the design and development of Galileo since the beginning of the programme and has significantly contributed to it with its comprehensive set of competencies in the field of satellite navigation and large-scale space programmes.
System engineering: In the Galileo system and architecture, Astrium is one of the main industrial partners supporting ESA in the design of the overall space and ground infrastructure with specific key expertise in signal design and performance engineering.
Space segment: In this segment Astrium has been responsible for the development and delivery of the GIOVE-A (via Astrium’s subsidiary SSTL) and GIOVE-B test satellites as well as for the first four Galileo satellites of the constellation. Astrium companies are building all navigation payloads.
Astrium will continue to support the EC and ESA towards the full build-up of the satellite constellation enabling Full Operational Capability of Galileo.
The GIOVE-B navigation satellite has been operating successfully in orbit since its launch in April 2008. This mission has enabled engineers to carry out the necessary in-orbit tests of the new technologies required for Galileo and lead the way for a navigation system that is vital to both the economic and technological future of Europe.
The first constellation satellites built by Astrium were launched in October 2011 and constitute another major milestone in the build-up of the satellite constellation. The second pair of Astrium-built IOV (In-Orbit Validation) satellites for Europe’s Galileo navigation system was successfully launched on Friday 12 October by a Soyuz rocket from Kourou.
Ground segment: In the development phase, Astrium is leading the design and delivery of the ground control segment. The first satellite control facility has been installed in the Galileo Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. For the deployment phase, Astrium is committed to continue its prime role and complete the respective ground control installations worldwide. Furthermore, the company is contributing to the ground mission segment engineering.
Through its Services and Space Transportation Divisions, too, Astrium is contributing to Galileo operations.