EU awards €1 billion worth of Galileo contracts

7 Jan 2010

Three contracts of more than €1 billion have been awarded by the European Commission today for Europe’s Galileo satellite-navigation system.

The contract for the system support services was awarded to ThalesAleniaSpace of Italy, with the contract for a first order of 14 satellites going to OHB System AG of Germany and that for the launch services to Arianespace of France.

“With this and the upcoming awards for the remaining procurement packages, we are concluding a critical phase of the Galileo programme,” said Antonio Tajani, European Commission vice-president in charge of transport.

“We can now focus on the actual roll-out and demonstrate to European citizens that Europe’s own satellite navigation system is firmly underway,” he added.

The Galileo programme is a global satellite-navigation system which is being built by the EU and the European Space Agency. The project is an alternative and complimentary to the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Russian GLONASS.

Crucially, the new system aims to provide more precise measurements than those currently available through the US or Russian systems.

Contract values

The contract awarded to ThalesAleniaSpace for the system support services covers the industrial services needed to support the European Space Agency for the integration and the validation of the Galileo system. It has a value of €85 million.

OHB System’s contract to supply satellites to the Galileo programme is worth €566 million, while the value of the contract amounts to €397 million.

The contract with Arianespace covers the launch of five Soyuz launchers, each carrying two satellites. The first launch is scheduled for October 2012.

The contracts are expected to be signed in the next few weeks between the chosen companies and the European Space Agency, on behalf of the European Commission.

Better scheduling

With the contracts awarded, the commission is now able to better schedule the timings for the provision of the different Galileo services – the Open Service, the Public Regulated Service and the Search And Rescue Service will be provided as of early 2014.

The Safety-of-Life Service and the Commercial Service will be tested as of 2014 and will be provided as Galileo reaches full operational capability with a constellation of 30 satellites.

The three remaining Galileo contracts should be awarded by mid-2010, the commission said. These will cover the ground mission infrastructure, the ground control infrastructure and the operations.

Photo: Artist’s impression of an experimental Galileo satellite

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