European Commission Awards Final Contracts Making Galileo a Reality

June 23, 2011  - By
Image: GPS World

The European Commission (EC) announced that the final two contracts, out of six, for Galileo, Europe’s global navigation satellite programme will be signed at 16.00 by the European Space Agency on behalf of the EC at the prestigious Le Bourget Aerospace Fair in Paris. The combined valued of the two contracts is €355 million. The contract signed with Thales Alenia Space (FR), for a value of €281 million, ensures the formatting of navigation information for broadcast by the satellites. The contract signed with Astrium (UK), for a value of €73.5 million concerns the "housekeeping" of the satellites including the maintenance and correct positioning of the satellites in orbit. Signature of these contracts is essential for the deployment and provision of three initial services by Galileo in 2014:

  1. The free Open Service basic signal, which everybody can use.
  2. The Public Regulated Service comprising two encrypted signals with controlled access for specific users like governmental bodies.
  3. Search-and-Rescue Service for humanitarian search and rescue activities.

For Vice President Antonio Tajani, European Commissioner for enterprise and industrial policy, “The award of the contracts to French and UK companies once again underlines the true cross-border European collaboration which is Galileo. Signature of the contracts marks the end of a rigorous procurement process, and the beginning of a new chapter for Galileo. Rigorous – because I personally insist on reducing costs wherever possible throughout the Galileo programme. A new chapter for Galileo – because we are now well and truly on the road to putting in place the infrastructure leading to the provision of vital services to citizens in 2014. We are all looking forward to the launch of the first two operational Galileo satellites on 20th October from French Guiana Space port”.

According to the announcement, the procurement of services essential for Galileo’s full operational capability is divided into six contracts. In January 2010, three contracts were awarded to ensure system engineering support, satellites and launchers (see IP/10/7) A fourth contract was signed in Brussels in October 2010 with SpaceOpal for operating the space and ground infrastructure (IP/10/1382). Galileo will underpin many sectors of the European economy through its services: electricity grids, fleet management companies, financial transactions, shipping industry, rescue operations, peace-keeping missions will all benefit from the free Open Service, the Public Regulated Service and the Search-and-Rescue service.

The EC reports that in addition, Galileo will make Europe independent in a technology that is becoming critical, including for such areas as electricity distribution and telecommunication networks. Galileo is expected to deliver €60 billion to the European economy over a period of 20 years in terms of additional revenues for industry and in terms of public and social benefits, not counting the benefit of independence.

Galileo will provide three early services in 2014/2015 based on an initial constellation of 18 satellites, says the EC: an initial Open Service, an initial Public Regulated Service and an initial Search-and-Rescue Service. Further services to follow later will cover a Commercial Service combining two encrypted signals for higher data throughput rate and higher accuracy authenticated data.

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