Galileo is Europe’s own Global Navigation Satellite System, providing real-time positioning, navigation and timing services with unrivalled accuracy. The UK has made a considerable investment in the project and is involved at every level in developing this next generation of satellite.
As Payload Prime for Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) Works Order 1 & 2, SSTL is responsible for the development, assembly, integration and test of 22 navigation payloads. The first Galileo FOC payload was delivered to OHB in 2012, and since then payloads have continued to roll off the production line at SSTL, with a delivery schedule of approximately one every six weeks.
Dr John Paffett, Director of Telecommunications and Navigation at SSTL, commented:
The completion and delivery of the 22nd payload for FOC marks another milestone for SSTL, and I must pay tribute to the talented and dedicated FOC team here who have worked tirelessly to keep the production line rolling for the past four years. We are extremely proud of our contribution to Europe’s new navigation system, and we are all looking forward to the day that the new service comes on stream, and we can start using it in our > daily lives.
Katherine Courtney, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, added:
Satellite navigation is an important part of the UK space industry success story and we are at the forefront of innovation in technology and services. Every FOC payload for the Galileo constellation - the beating heart of each satellite - has been built here in Guildford and the completion of this 22nd payload is a significant milestone which should be celebrated. We remain fully committed to the success of the Galileo programme, and > look forward to the start of initial services later this year.
SSTL’s FOC payload will provide Galileo’s navigation, positioning and timing services. The subcontractors for the payload are Airbus Defence and Space, Finmeccanica, Spectratime, Kongsberg Norspace, Rymsa, TAS-I, Tesat, Ruag Mier, ComDev (Honeywell), and Siemens. Testing facilities were provided at Airbus Defence and Space and RAL Space.
The next launch of a pair of Galileo FOC spacecraft is due to take place on 24 May on board a Soyuz launcher from Kourou in French Guiana. Twelve Galileo satellites are already in orbit, and a second launch of 4 spacecraft is planned for later this year, bringing the total of 18 Galileo satellites in orbit by the end of this year.
Galileo is owned by the EC with the European Space Agency (ESA) acting in partnership as the technical design and procurement authority. Galileo’s key differentiator from other similar systems is that it is a civil system under civil control. Designed to be inter-operable with GPS, the US global satellite navigation system, receivers that are equipped with the right chipsets will, in future, be able to utilise signals from both systems to provide a more accurate and reliable global positioning service than by using GPS or Galileo alone.