Galileo is Europe’s global navigation satellite system, or GNSS. Owned by the European Union, it is a joint initiative of the European Commission, the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).

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)

A service on a global scale


While awaiting completion of the entire system, since December 2016 Galileo has offered users a global service referred to as the “Initial Service”. When the system is fully operative, Galileo will offer six high-performance services all over the world.

Open Service (OS)

Basic navigation, positioning and timing system, open for all to use free of charge: fully compatible with other GNSS systems such as the American GPS, the Russian GLONASS and the Chinese Beidou systems.

Public Regulated Service (PRS)

For government users and sensitive applications requiring a high level of continuity of service.

Search and Rescue Support Service (SAR)

The main activities conducted at the Matera Space Centre are Earth Observation and Space Geodesy. Supplies the signal for the COSPAS-SARSAT network, a satellite-operated international search and rescue system. Galileo also includes a very useful feedback channel for confirming emergency signals.

High Accuracy Service (HAS)

A service complementary to the OS which uses an additional navigation signal and a different frequency band to provide value-added services requiring extremely accurate performance.

Open Service Navigation Message Authentication (OSNMA)

A freely accessible service supplementary to the OS to guarantee that OS navigation messages received by users are authentic and have not been modified (deployment currently underway).

Commercial Authentication Service (CAS)

complementary to the OSNMA authentication function for authorised users, guaranteeing a higher level of dependability (currently under definition).

Galileo: innovative applications


In addition to the various methods of service on offer, Galileo is a true technological enabler that allows the development of innovative solutions for the benefit of institutions, companies and citizens.

Telespazio is working on a wide range of Galileobased applications for civil and governmental uses and supports national and European agencies in the definition of new services in several sectors.

Spaceopal also plays a leading role in the evolution and study of innovative services to support the Galileo end-user, such as the NAVCAST and IONOLAB prototype services designed and developed to increase the accuracy of the Galileo and GPS system.

News & Stories about Galileo