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ESA signs contract for new generation of Galileo
Acting on behalf of the European Commission, ESA has signed two contracts for an overall amount of €1.47 billion, to design and build the first batch of the second generation of Europe’s Galileo navigation satellites.
Following an intense process of open competition, these contracts have been awarded to Thales Alenia Space (Italy) and Airbus Defence & Space (Germany) to create two independent families of satellites amounting to 12 Galileo Second Generation satellites in total.
These Galileo Second Generation (G2) satellites will revolutionise the Galileo fleet, joining the 26 first generation Galileo satellites in orbit today plus the 12 ‘Batch 3’ satellites currently in production and testing. The first launch of these Batch 3 satellites will take place later this year.
The new G2 satellites will be constructed in a short time scale with their first launch expected in less than four years, allowing them to commence operations in space as soon as possible.
The G2 satellites will gradually join the existing constellation, but will be much larger than existing satellites. Using electric propulsion for the first time, and hosting an enhanced navigation antenna, their fully digital payloads are being designed to be easily reconfigured in orbit, enabling them to actively respond to the evolving needs of users with novel signals and services.
New on-board technologies include electric propulsion to propel the satellites from the orbit in which they will be launched to the final operational orbits, allowing two satellites to be launched at once despite their increased mass. Inter-satellite links between the satellites will let them routinely cross-check their performance and reduce their dependency on the availability of ground installations.
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