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Understanding Galileo

May 2007 | Comments Off on Understanding Galileo
 
Galileo will make civil users of satellite navigation in Europe and all over the world independent of the American GPS
   

Exact determination of position, at any time, from any location, secure and precise navigation, efficient route planning – in the future it will all be summed up in one word: Galileo. This new European navigation system with 30 satellites will be ready for use in the beginning of the next decade. A first test satellite has been launched into its orbit in 2005. Another one will follow by the end of this year. Galileo will make civil users of satellite navigation in Europe and all over the world independent of the American Global Positioning System (GPS). Even more, especially in connection with civilian use, Galileo will outperform GPS and thereby open the gate for new applications and markets for satellite supported navigation. Especially in the combination with navigation, mobile telecommunication and information services, there is an immense utilisation and market potential.

To become the concessionaire, another dedicated pan-european industry consortium will be founded. The eight shareholders of the concessionaire will be EADS Astrium, Alcatel, Finmeccanica, Aena, Hispasat, Inmarsat, Thales and TeleOp. The Headquarters of the Galileo Concessionaire will be located in Toulouse, France. The Operations Company will be located in London, United Kingdom. The two Control Centres (Constellation and Mission) as well as the two Performance Evaluation Centres supporting the concessionaire headquarters will be located in Germany and Italy. Spain will host facilities that include redundancy for the Control Centres and those related to Galileo safety critical applications. The concession contract is currently negotiated between the European Union’s Galileo Supervisory Authority (GSA) and the eight shareholders of the future concessionaire.

The Galileo

Galileo is the first joint project of the European Union and the European Space Agency ESA. The global satellite navigation system is to be realised in a public private partnership. The European Union and a private concession company will share the costs for the development and setup of the navigation system.

The Galileo constellation consists of 30 satellites, which circle the Earth at a height of just under 24,000 kilometres. Three of them serve as active reserve satellites. The user device determines its position on the globe by calculating the distance to at least three of the Galileo satellites. The more precise this distance measurement, the more precisely can the position of the user be determined. The distance is determined with the aid of a highly precise time signal. The satellites emit these time signals and the user device measures the time that elapses until the signal is received.

Artist’s impression of four European navigation satellites in Orbit. (Copyright: EADS Astrium)

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Services

Galileo will provide a total of five services:

* The Open Service (OS) is intended for mass use, like automobile navigation systems. The OS signals can be received free of charge by anyone who has a suitable user device. In future, the open signals of the European Galileo- System and the US-American GPS will be interoperable. Users will thus benefit from better signal availability and higher accuracy of their position determination.

* The Safety-of-Life Service (SoL) is intended above all for safety critical transport applications, for instance for guiding air or rail traffic. The certified SoL service can only be used with special certified user devices. The Galileo operator will guarantee the continuous availability and high precision of the SoL signals. This guarantee is a unique selling point for the European Galileo-System. Due to missing guarantees, GPS is not a suitable navigation system for safety critical applications such as controlling airport approaches and distances between trains; the Galileo Safety-of-Life Service will serve these purposes.

* The Commercial Service (CS) is intended for users who require higher precision than that provided by the Open Service.

* Galileo will transmit a special signal for the Public Regulated Service (PRS), a service for applications relating to sovereign tasks. This coded signal will be characterized by a high resistance to jamming and it will only be possible to receive it using special terminal units. Whether, and to what extent, this signal will be used by the military has not yet been determined and is subject to political decision. However, opinions on this are currently divided. Whilst France, for example, has shown great interest in using the PRS for military purposes, the response from Germany has been rather more reserved on this issue.

* The Search and Rescue Service (SAR) is a European contribution to a world-wide search and rescue system.

The setup plans

The setup of the European satellite navigation system will be done in two phases: the In-Orbit- Validation-Phase (IOV), which is scheduled to last until 2009 and the Full-Operational-Capability- Phase (FOC) which will follow. The In-Orbit-Validation phase (IOV) comprises the development, construction and launch of two test satellites and the first four operational navigation satellites. In addition, a part of the ground infrastructure will already have been set up during this phase. The first test satellite, Giove A, has been launched in December 2005 and is successfully transmitting signals. The second test satellite, Giove B, is set for launch by the end of 2007. Afterwards, the first four operational satellites will be launched and this partial system will be tested extensively under real-life conditions.

The IOV-Phase is funded 100 per cent publicly. During this first phase, the European Space Agency (ESA) is in charge of the system procurement. In January 2006, ESA has signed the special purpose company European Satellite Navigation Industries (ESNI) as main contractor for the IOV-Phase. ESNI is a joint venture which is owned by the major European players in space industry. EADS Astrium is the largest shareholder. Astrium GmbH in Germany and Astrium Ltd in Britain each hold 19 percent of the shares. Other shareholders are Finmeccanica (Italy, 19 percent), Alcatel (France, 19 percent), Galileo Sistemas y Servicios (Spain, 12 percent) and Thales (France, 12 percent). When the planned merger between Alcatel and Thales is finalized, the new company will hold 31 Percent of the shares.

The stakeholders

As the largest shareholder of Galileo Industries, EADS Astrium will play an important role in the construction of the European Satellite navigation system. In the framework of the industry consortium EADS Astrium is to assume system responsibility for the so-called space segment of Galileo as well as the ground control segment. In addition, EADS Astrium is also involved in the so-called Ground Mission Segment, which includes the necessary ground infrastructure for the processing and quality of the Galileo navigation signals and services.

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The hub of the activities associated with the space segment is in Ottobrunn near Munich, Germany. Not only is the system responsibility for development and construction of the Galileo satellites housed there, important components are also to be manufactured in Ottobrunn, such as the entire energy supply and position control of the satellites.

Following their involvement in the earlier Phase activities, EADS Astrium in Portsmouth, UK are well placed to support the future phases of the project, in particular, the Ground Control Segment and Payload development. Technical input to Ground Control will draw on the companies’ expertise in Telemetry Tracking & Command (TT&C) and Key Management Facilities, whilst the Payload team can draw on significant previous experience developing Lband hardware and navigation payloads for mobile payloads such as Inmarsat 3 and 4, in conjunction with a pan- European team developing Galileo payload hardware, under parallel ESA programmes. EADS Astrium in France and in Spain are also participating in the prestigious Galileo programme. by Astrium’s business division, Space Transportation, will build the engines for the satellites and is the industrial system leader for the European launch rocket Ariane 5 that can bring the satellites into the orbit. Another subsidiary of EADS Astrium, the Spanish CASA in the framework of the Galileo Sistemas y Servicios plays an important role in the construction of the ground infrastructure for Galileo.

To become the concessionaire, another dedicated pan-european industry consortium will be founded. The eight shareholders of the concessionaire will be EADS Astrium, Alcatel, Finmeccanica, Aena, Hispasat, Inmarsat, Thales and TeleOp. The Headquarters of the Galileo Concessionaire will be located in Toulouse, France. The Operations Company will be located in London, United Kingdom. The two Control Centres (Constellation and Mission) as well as the two Performance Evaluation Centres supporting the concessionaire headquarters will be located in Germany and Italy. Spain will host facilities that include redundancy for the Control Centres and those related to Galileo safety critical applications. The concession contract is currently negotiated between the European Union’s Galileo Supervisory Authority (GSA) and the eight shareholders of the future concessionaire.

 

Hendrik Thielemann

EADS Astrium Communications
Munich, Germany
Hendrik.Thielemann@astrium. eads.net
   
     
 
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