GSA establishes Galileo Reference Centre to monitor performance

June 1, 2016  - By
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News from the European GNSS Agency

The Galileo Reference Centre (GRC), which will be established in the Netherlands, will play a crucial role in monitoring Galileo’s performance. The European GNSS Agency (GSA) made the announcement during this week’s European Space Solutions conference in The Hague.

With Galileo Initial Services set to be declared this year, the GRC will play a pivotal role in the programme’s operations, the GSA announced during the 4th European Space Solutions conference in The Hague.

The Galileo Reference Centre (GRC) will be established in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. The GRC’s core mission is to perform independent monitoring of Galileo’s performance and report on its findings.

GRC’s core facility in Noordwijk will also actively integrate contributions from the EU Member States Norway and Switzerland. The core facility is charged with generating performance evaluation products, reporting and performing dedicated campaign-based analyses. It will also rely on a range of facilities and expertise available in the Member States.

The GRC will be implemented using a versioning approach. The first step is expected to be in place at the time of declaration of Galileo Initial Services. The core facility is set to become operational in 2017.

“The use of space data is becoming more urgent and relevant in many areas, for example in maritime safety and smart mobility,” said Melanie Schultz van Haegen, Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment. “The Galileo Reference Centre will help ensure the provision of high quality satellite data so users can better rely on and benefit from Galileo.”

“When operational, the GRC will provide the GSA with an independent system to evaluate the performance of the Galileo Service Operator and the quality of the signals in space,” said GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides. Dorides and van Haegen were joined by Elżbieta Bieńkowska, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, to officially sign the GRC hosting agreement during the conference’s opening session.

The GRC in Brief

  • Galileo is Europe’s global navigation satellite system (GNSS), operated and maintained by the Galileo Service Operator, under contract with the European GNSS Agency (GSA).
  • The Galileo Service Operator is responsible for ensuring that the programme complies with the Galileo Services performance requirements.
  • The Galileo Reference Centre (GRC) is one of the Galileo Service Facilities: a facility to support the provision of services to the Galileo Core System and the Galileo users.
  • The GRC is operated by the GSA: it provides the GSA with an independent means of evaluating the performance of the Galileo Service Operator and the quality of the signals in space.
  • The GRC is fully independent of the system and the Galileo Service Operator with respect to both the technical solution and operations
  • The GRC is comprised of both a core facility and contributions available at EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland.
  • The core facility, located in Noordwijk (The Netherlands), is charged with:
    • generating performance evaluation products and reports using data collected by itself and through cooperation with Member States;
    • performing dedicated campaign-based analyses to support investigations of service performance and service degradations;
    • making use of the GRC’s own data, products and expertise.
  • Data and products from cooperating entities from the Member States support both daily operations and specific campaigns.
  • The GRC should benefit from but also contribute to maintaining the long term competences and expertise at the level of Member States.
  • All of the components of the GRC will be implemented using a versioning approach. The first performance monitoring solution, which primarily relies on contributions from Member States, is expected to be in place at the time of declaration of Initial Services. The core facility is expected to become operational in 2017.

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