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Orolia wins €70M in Galileo atomic clock contracts

September 10, 2021  - By
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Orolia has been awarded €70 million in two contracts to provide atomic clocks for the first 12 satellites of the Galileo Second Generation System (G2S). The first was from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the second from Leonardo.

Each of the new G2S satellites, designed to provide unprecedented accuracy worldwide, will contain three Orolia Rubidium Atomic Frequency Standards (RAFS) and two Orolia atomic clock physics packages integrated with Leonardo’s Passive Hydrogen Masers (PHM).

“We are truly honored to be selected by the European Commission, ESA and Leonardo to continue to supply our advanced space atomic clocks for the next generation of Galileo,” said Jean-Yves Courtois, CEO of Orolia. “Our dedication, hard work and innovative design for all the clocks in the current Galileo constellation have contributed to the most accurate GNSS system in service today. We look forward to continuing to support the Galileo program with the most advanced GNSS timing technology available in the world.”

Orolia’s RAFS is an ultra-stable rubidium atomic clock able to deliver a frequency stability of about 2 x 10-14 over averaging intervals of 10,000 seconds. The Leonardo PHM, with its excellent frequency stability performance, is the master clock for the Galileo satellite payload. The maser technology embedded on Galileo offers superior stability compared to all other types of clocks onboard navigation satellites, according to Orolia.

The RAFS Flight Model atomic clock will fly aboard the second generation Galileo satellites. (Photo: Orolia)

The RAFS Flight Model atomic clock will fly aboard the second generation Galileo satellites. (Photo: Orolia)

Orolia has delivered more than 140 RAFS Flight Models worldwide, with 114 flying on GNSS satellites. In addition, 100 PHM Flight Models have been delivered worldwide, and 56 are flying on the current Galileo constellation.

According to ESA, the G2S satellites will revolutionize the Galileo constellation, joining the 26 first-generation satellites currently in orbit. They will be much larger than the existing Galileo satellites, use electric propulsion for the first time, and feature a more powerful navigation antenna. The G2S constellation should achieve decimeter-scale positioning precision.

In May, the European Commission and ESA announced the selection of Orolia to provide its Skydel GNSS signal simulation core engine for the G2S radiofrequency constellation simulator.

The Galileo program is managed and funded by the European Union. The European Commission, ESA and EUSPA have signed an agreement by which ESA acts as design authority and system development prime on behalf of the commission and EUSPA as the exploitation and operation manager of Galileo.

About the Author:


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.

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