Galileo: the Fucino Space Centre inaugurates the expansion of the Control Centre for the European satellite navigation system

03 November 2021 15:00

  • The evolution of Europe’s leading space programme has extended the activities of the Italian Control Centre built by Telespazio
  • Together with Telespazio and Thales Alenia Space, Leonardo is a key Galileo partner providing a fundamental contribution to the system’s land and space segments

The new building that extends the Galileo Control Centre (GCC), operational since 2010, was inaugurated today at the Fucino Space Centre of Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%). The growth of the Galileo programme, the European satellite navigation and localization system, has extended the activities of the Fucino-based Control Centre and required the creation of new control rooms and operational areas.

In this new configuration, which is already operational, the Italian GCC can now has 30 control rooms and 40 equipment rooms. At full capacity, the control centre will be operated by approximately 200 specialists. Built in 12 months by Telespazio, the new infrastructure covers a surface area of about 1400 square meters, bringing the Galileo Control Centre to a total area of 6000 square meters.

The ceremony was attended by Marco Marsilio, President of the Abruzzo Region, Rodrigo da Costa, Executive Director of the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), Luigi Pasquali, Coordinator of Leonardo’s Space Activities and CEO of Telespazio, and Marco Folino, CEO of Spaceopal.

Rodrigo da Costa, Executive Director of EUSPA, said: “With billions of users of the European Union satellite navigation system, Galileo and its central role for the sustainable development of the EU, it is essential to maintain and develop Galileo reliability and efficiency. It is our mission in EUSPA as an operational agency of the European Union together with our partners. This new extension in Italy is part of Galileo development thus it is essential.”

Luigi Pasquali, Coordinator of Leonardo's Space activities and CEO of Telespazio, said: “We are pleased that the growth of Galileo, the European Union’s leading space programme, has enabled us to expand the Italian Control Centre at Fucino, the system’s heart alongside its German counterpart. The expansion of this infrastructure will ensure full reliability and efficiency for Galileo’s ground segment, with the aim of providing optimal service to 2.3 billion users worldwide. We are extremely proud that this inauguration is taking place right here, 60 years after the establishment of Telespazio, as it was in Fucino that the company took its first steps in the pioneering sector of satellite communications”.

In the words of Marco Folino, CEO of Spaceopal: “The evolution of Galileo's Hosting services, which we are celebrating today with the inauguration of the new building of the Italian GCC, is one of the many expressions of the multi-year agreement through which Spaceopal, with great commitment and pride, is delighted to support EUSPA in successfully conducting a programme as important as Galileo. This evolution marks a further step towards the system’s full operational capacity. For my part, my heartfelt thanks go to EUSPA for the trust placed in us and to Telespazio for the valuable contribution provided”.

The Italian Galileo Control Centre, operating with that in Germany in Oberpfaffenhofen (Munich), manages the satellite constellation and the Galileo programme’s mission. Moreover, the Italian Centre was entrusted with security operations for the entire Galileo system, including the activities required to ensure the integrity, confidentiality and authenticity of the navigation and positioning signal. Both centres are managed by Spaceopal (a joint venture of Telespazio and DLR/GFR), on behalf of EUSPA, responsible for operation and integrated logistics of the entire Galileo system, the management of the global communication network as well as the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) starting with the launch of the next two satellites.

Leonardo is a key Galileo partner providing a fundamental contribution to the programme’s ground and space segments through the joint ventures Telespazio and Thales Alenia Space and supplying accurate hydrogen atomic clocks for all first and second generation satellites.