First of Batch 3 Galileo payloads delivered with evolved clocks

August 6, 2019  - By
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Galileo is on the march with a new generation of satellites bearing improved atomic clocks. The first of the Batch 3 navigation payloads was delivered in June by Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) in the UK to OHB System AG in Bremen, Germany.

SSTL’s payload for Batch 3 is a recurrent build of the existing FOC payload, with an evolution of the atomic clocks to incorporate advances made under the European GNSS Evolution Programme. The earlier SSTL Galileo FOC payload comprised different units including European-sourced atomic clocks, navigation signal generators, high power traveling wave tube amplifiers and antennas.

The new payload will be integrated aboard the satellite platform Galileo FOC FM23, named Patrick in honor of the winner of a drawing competition. Payload integration will be followed by a series of comprehensive test activities. Patrick and its next youngest sibling satellite of this series are scheduled to be ready for launch in autumn 2020.

“We are looking forward to this first ‘marriage’ of a Batch-3-payload and platform and are ready to start Patrick’s test sequence soon,” said Lars Peters from OHB System AG, in charge of the Assembly Integration and Test for the satellites at eleven production islands where one satellite is completed every five weeks.

“The ambitious schedule means that looking forward reserve satellites will be available both in orbit and on the ground,” added Dr. Wolfgang Paetsch, a member of the OHB System AG Management Board responsible for navigation, Earth observation and science.

Paetsch received a PNT Leadership Award from GPS World magazine in 2017. At that time, Paul Verhoef of ESA, accepting on behalf of Paetsch, stated:

“Of course we are waiting a bit to see what the real lifetime of the satellites is going to be. We don’t know that yet but we will find out in the next couple of years. Obviously there is a lot of pressure for further innovation, for further improvements. The user community over the last couple of years has become more outspoken about what they want and what they expect, which is nice. Obviously we need to take care of the legacy users, and we are having to see what new technology would allow us to do.”

OHB System AG has contracted to deliver a further twelve satellites of this Batch 3 for Galileo. This will bring to 34 the number of Galileo satellites being supplied by the SSTL-OHB partnership. Of these, 14 are already in orbit.


Feature photo: The satellite Patrick, first of Galileo’s Batch 3, will eventually travel from OHB to ESA’s ESTEC technical centre (shown here) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands for rigorous testing in simulated space conditions. (Photo: European Space Agency)

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