Your behavior appears to be a little unusual. Please verify that you are not a bot.

Galileo Reference Centre inaugurated in the Netherlands

May 21, 2018  - By

News from the European GNSS Agency (GSA)

The Galileo Reference Centre (GRC), the new state-of-the-art performance monitoring hub for the European Union’s global satellite navigation system, was officially inaugurated May 16 in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

The ceremony was presided by Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Cora van Nieuwenhuizen and European GNSS Agency (GSA) Executive Director Carlo des Dorides, among others.

GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides (right), Dutch Minister for Infrastructure and Water Management Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, and DG GROW Deputy Director-General Pierre Delsaux at GRC inauguration. (Photo: GSA)

“The Galileo Reference Centre is a state of the art facility that underpins Galileo service provision,” des Dorides said. “The GRC will be instrumental in monitoring the performance of the system and of the service operator, ensuring that users benefit from the most reliable satellite data and, at the same time, disclosing new service potential.”

“I am proud of the fact that the Galileo Reference Centre is located in the Netherlands,” van Nieuwenhuizen said. “The data provided by Galileo will enable us to navigate with an accuracy to within 20 centimeters. In rescue operations, this sharp reduction in response time is going to save human lives.”

Independent monitoring ensures quality for users

The GRC is a cornerstone of service provision for Europe’s Galileo satellite constellation and plays an important role in Galileo’s operations, providing the GSA with an independent means of evaluating the quality of the signals in space and the performance of the Galileo Service Operator (GSOp). In so doing, it helps ensure the provision of high-quality satellite data so users can better rely on and benefit from Galileo.

Managed by the GSA, the GRC is comprised of a core facility in Noordwijk and contributions from EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland. From the core facility, the GRC generates performance evaluation products and reports using data collected in-house and through cooperation with Member States. The Centre also performs dedicated campaign-based analyses to support investigation of any service performance issues and reports on its findings.

In this two-pillar approach, the GRC benefits from and contributes to maintaining long-term competence and expertise at the Member State level, and actively integrates contributions from the EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland to support daily operations and specific campaigns.

The GSA has established agreements with two beneficiaries, one led by the French Space Agency (CNES) and the other by the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR), and 23 organizations from 14 different countries. Member State contributions include data from networks of reference stations and campaigns using vehicles, vessels and airplanes, and reference products.

The GRC is fully independent of the system and the Galileo Service Operator with respect to its operations.

Since June 2017, GRC operations were hosted and operated from a temporary facility at ESTEC, the neighbouring ESA technical centre, which was instrumental in the swift ramp-up of competences. In April the GRC moved to its new home.

Earlier in May, the GRC hosted representatives from US GPS, Russian Glonass, Chinese BeiDou, Japanese QIS and Galileo to discuss the creation of an authoritative international GNSS monitoring and assessment system to benchmark the performance of available GNSS. The meeting was organised through the International GNSS Monitoring and Assessment Task Force of the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), International Committee on GNSS (ICG).

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.