Netherlands home to new Galileo satellite office

31 May 2016

The European satellite mission Galileo has a new home, with Noordwijk in the Netherlands now hosting the Galileo Reference Centre (GRC) to monitor and report on proceedings.

Set up by the European Council over a decade ago, the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA) is the body that plans European satellite programmes that will, in future, improve everything from data management to positioning capabilities.

Galileo is hoped to become a key part of the global navigation positioning system of the future. The European Space Agency has a stake in all of this, obviously, with the GSA set up to manage its satellite projects dating as far back as 2002.

Later this year, Galileo’s initial services will be launched and, to support that, it needs to be managed, monitored, processed and learned from in the best way possible, thus the planning of the GRC in the Netherlands.

Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment Melanie Schultz van Haegen noted the growing importance that data attained from space plays, “for example in maritime safety and smart mobility”.

“The GRC will help ensure the provision of high-quality satellite data so users can better rely on and benefit from Galileo.”

The Noordwijk facility will be tasked with generating performance evaluation products and reports, it will do this through EU member state cooperation.

“When operational, the GRC will provide the GSA with an independent system to evaluate the performance of the Galileo service operator and the quality of the signals in space,” said GSA executive director Carlo des Dorides.

Satellite image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic