The Galileo programme is a collaboration of the European Union with ESA to improve the technological independence of Europe and establish international standards for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS).
The purpose of the programme is to provide a global navigation satellite system, a highly accurate, guaranteed global positioning service, interoperable with the US GPS and Russian GLONASS systems. At full operation, Galileo will consist of 30 Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites and a broad ground infrastructures.
Telespazio plays a leading role in the development of the programme, having built, at the Fucino Space Centre, one of the Galileo Control Centre (GCC), which will manage the programme’s constellation and mission. A second GCC was built by DLR GfR, a company of the German Space Agency (DLR), in Oberpfaffenhofen (Munich).
Telespazio is heavily involved in all the phases of the system's operational life span of Galileo through Spaceopal, who manages and coordinates the services using the “LEOP Operations Control Centres” in Toulouse (France) and Darmstadt (Germany), operated by CNES and ESOC respectively, which provide constellation launch and early orbit phase services. Spaceopal uses the GCC at Fucino and Oberpfaffenhofen for the provision of the navigation signals and the in-orbit control of the satellites. It also manages the IOT system at Redu (Belgium) for the In Orbit Test phase for the launched satellites.
Telespazio France also plays an important role through its teams in Toulouse and Kourou: the company supports CNES and Arianespace respectively in the management of the Launch Centre in Guiana and in the operations of launch and early orbit the Galileo satellites.
Telespazio VEGA Deutschland has developed since 1999 , for the European Space Agency (ESA), the Galileo System Simulation Facility (GSSF). Telespazio’s subsidiary is also responsible for developing a facility to support the testing and validation of the first four Galileo satellites as part of the In-Orbit Validation phase of the programme. Currently, the company is prime contractor for both the Constellation Simulator for the Ground Control Segment and the Assembly, Integration & Validation Platform for the Ground Mission Segment.
In the course of 2014 Galileo has started the validation campaign for the early provision of four types of service: a free and open service, a commercial service and a public regulated service plus a search and rescue service. After this initial phase of testing, these services will be provided progressively as the constellation grows.
The four types of services offered by the Galileo system are distinguished according to the type of signal, open or encrypted, and the diverse needs of end users.
- The Open Service (OS) is a service that relies on open signals free to all, able to determine the time and location information with an accuracy superior to other satellite navigation systems.
- The Commercial Service (CS) is a service based on an encrypted signal that allows a commercial offering dedicated to positioning and time.
- The Public Regulated Service (PRS) is a controlled-access service that provides positioning and time to specific users such as security operators (police, military) that require high reliability and continuity of signal.
- The Search and Rescue Support Service (S&RSS), finally, is able to detect emergency signals, transmitting in real time to the rescue centres. It will be used for the management of alarms and the localisation of users in danger.