Established in the late ’nineties with the goal of setting up an independent, resilient European satellite navigation system, Galileo now provides a dependable, precise global navigation, positioning and timing service and will soon enter a new phase in its development, with a second generation of satellites.
Fully interoperable with other GNSS systems, Galileo is made up of three segments.
- Space segment: formed of a constellation of at least 24 operative satellites (and a variable number of orbiting satellites on standby) positioned on three different MEO (Medium Earth Orbit) planes of orbit.
- Ground segment: a vast network of centres and infrastructures all over the world, including both the Ground Control Segment (GCS) and the Ground Mission Segment (GMS) as well as a series of supporting and service installations.
- User segment: Composed of various different users’ GNSS receivers.
The role of Telespazio
Telespazio and its subsidiaries and joint ventures play a prominent role in both the ground segment and the user segment of Galileo.
- Since 2010 Telespazio has set up and operated one of the two Galileo Control Centres (GCC) managing the system out of the Fucino Space Centre in Italy, and the company is responsible for mission control and the global network of communication among sites. Telespazio is current involved in the studies being conducted for future development of the system, Galileo Second Generation - G2G, in the area of integrated logistics and operations.
- Spaceopal (a joint venture owned equally by Telespazio and the German space agency DLR-GFR) has been Galileo Service Operator (GSOp) since 2016, entrusted with management of the entire system, from validation of the software used in control centres to the launching of satellites in orbit (LEOP), control of the constellation and of remote sites dotted all over the globe, and supply of navigation services up to the specified level of performance, as well as the customer interface through the European GNSS Service Centre (GSC) in Madrid, Spain.
- Telespazio Germany is prime contractor of the constellation simulator for the Ground Control Segment of the Assembly, Integration and Validation platform for the Ground Mission Segment.
- Telespazio France assists CNES with management of the Launch Centre in French Guyana, while Arianespace is concerned with launching Galileo satellites into orbit.
- Telespazio Iberica supports Spaceopal supplying services to end users at GSC.
- Telespazio Belgium acts as Spaceopal’s logistics partner in management of the Galileo Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) Centre in Transinne, Belgium and plays an active role in the design of the current system and its future evolution, G2G.
The Galileo Ground Segment
To manage orbiting satellites and guarantee navigation, positioning and timing services for users all over the world, Galileo relies on a vast and complex ground infrastructure on a global scale.
At the heart of the system are two ground control centres, (GCC), at Telespazio’s Fucino Space Centre in Abruzzo, Italy and in Oberpfaffenhofen, near Munich, Germany.
The two centres host both the Galileo Control Segment (GCS), concerned with operation of the orbiting constellation of satellites in space, and the Galileo Mission Segment (GMS), responsible for the generation, deployment and global monitoring of navigation, positioning and timing signals as well as management of a network of about forty stations.
The Fucino GCC is an infrastructure measuring approximately 6000 square metres, built with contributions from the Region of Abruzzo, containing a main control room and about ten more integrated control rooms under round-the-clock supervision by highly qualified personnel.
2 Control centres (GCC)
1 European GNSS service centre (GSC) in Madrid concerned with the user interface
1 Galileo Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) Centre in Transinne, Belgium
6 telemetry, tracking & control (TT&C) stations
Numerous data up-link stations
A world-wide grid of stations with GSS monitoring sensors
2 Galileo Security Monitoring Centres (GSMC)
1 Geodetic Reference Service Provider (GRSP)
1 Time Service Provider (TSP)
1 Galileo Reference Centre (GRC)