21 Dec 04. The European satellite navigation project Galileo is beginning to take shape. On Tuesday, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Galileo Industries signed a preliminary contract in Paris for the In-Orbit-Verification-Phase (IOV). With a 38 percent stake, EADS Astrium is the largest shareholder in Galileo Industries and will take on important work packages as the major subcontractor in this initial phase.
“After extensive discussions, this authorisation to proceed enables us, at last, to get started on building the Galileo satellites,” says Evert Dudok, Director of Earth Observation, Navigation and Science at EADS Astrium. “By the end of the decade, a global independent satellite navigation system, under civil control, will be available to all.” Dudok estimates the value of the subcontracts that will be awarded to EADS Astrium, as part of this first agreement between ESA and Galileo Industries, to be of the order of €75m. The preliminary contract covers the first work packages for the IOV-Phase, which comprises the construction and launch of the first four Galileo satellites and the in-orbit testing of this initial part of the overall system.
Contracts between ESA and the space industry on the entire IOV phase should be finalised by the middle of next year. The total contract value for this phase, amounting to around 950 million euros, will cover the first four Galileo satellites, due for launch in 2008, and the development and operation of the associated ground infrastructure. A further 26 satellites will follow to make up the 30 required in the Galileo constellation. It is expected that Galileo will be fully operational by the end of the decade.
As the largest shareholder in Galileo Industries, EADS Astrium, based in Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Spain, will play a significant role in the construction phase of these Galileo satellites. The contract to build the satellites will be managed by EADS Astrium in Ottobrunn near Munich and, in addition, EADS Astrium Germany will be responsible for systems engineering and parts of the ground segment. Responsibility for the navigation payload as well as the management and system engineering of the ground control segment which monitors and controls the satellites, will be in Portsmouth, UK. The Toulouse site in France will contribute to the ground mission segment, which will monitor the signal quality of the satellites. EADS Astrium Spain is also participating in the Galileo programme and technical experts from all countries are already being assigned to Galileo Industries by EADS Astrium.
Galileo will stimulate a step change in the role of satellite technology in the daily lives of both the public and business, from satellite positioning chips in mobile phones, to a vast array of public services including transport management and personal mobility applications. In complimenting GPS, it will give increased accuracy and integrity, particularly in built-up areas and it will guarantee a role for European industry in the rapidly expanding satellite navigation market,
Galileo will significantly boost Britain’s high-tech economy. UK industry
already plays a leading role in the Galileo programme, and at least 500 high-skilled jobs will be created in the UK space industry as a direct result of UK involvement. The award of this contract confirms the UK’s worldwide expertise and acknowledges EADS Astrium’s leadership of the development, design and manufacture of the Galileo test satellite, GSTB V2B, which will be launched in 2005. UK companies have received over 30% of Galileo development contracts awarded to date, far exceeding the 17% contribution made by the UK Government to this programme. EADS Astrium is Europe’s leading satellite system specialist. Its activities cover complete civil and military telecommunications and Earth observation systems, science and navigation programmes, and all spacecraft avionics and equipment. EADS Astrium, wholly owned s