Galileo to receive global infrastructure upgrade

January 11, 2019  - By

News from the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) has received approval from the Galileo Security Accreditation Board to upgrade the global infrastructure running Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system.

According to ESA, the resulting migration, set to start in February 2019, will incorporate new elements into the world-spanning system and boost the robustness of Galileo services delivered from the 26 satellites in orbit.

The system qualification campaign, which was run by the ESA Galileo project team in coordination with the WP1x system support team led by Thales Alenia Space in Italy, took more than a year to execute. It included more than 150 system tests — summing up to a total of 409 tests runs across Europe — in the various Galileo operational centers.

Galileo's global ground segment. (Photo: ESA)

Galileo’s global ground segment. (Photo: ESA)

According to ESA, a major driver of this latest update was the growth of the Galileo constellation, which increased by 12 satellites through a trio of Ariane 5 launches in the last three years to become Europe’s largest.

The updated ground system incorporates a sixth telemetry, tracking and control station in Papeete, used to oversee Galileo satellite platforms, as well as an expansion of the number of antennas at the sites of uplink stations at Kourou in French Guiana, Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean and Noumea in French Polynesia.

In addition, receivers have been added to the Galileo sensor stations to ensure full redundancy.

“This marks the first update for Galileo’s operational infrastructure since it entered service,” said Edward Breeuwer, ESA Galileo system test and verification manager. “Galileo Initial Services began in December 2016, then last year we passed control of the system to our partner organization, the European Global Navigation Satellite System Agency, or GSA.

“This, therefore, marks a major step, but migration to the upgraded system should in principle be entirely transparent to Galileo users. We achieve this by taking advantage of the redundant elements of the Galileo system, taking them offline to update them while their operational counterparts continue to run.”

Featured photo: ESA/Fermin Alvarez Lopez

About the Author: Allison Kral

Allison Kral is the former digital media manager for North Coast Media (NCM). She completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio University where she received a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She works across a number of digital platforms, which include creating e-newsletters, writing articles and posting across social media sites. She also creates content for NCM's Pit & Quarry magazine, Portable Plants magazine and Geospatial Solutions. Her understanding of the ever-changing digital media world allows her to quickly grasp what a target audience desires and create content that is appealing and relevant for any client across any platform.