In Paris today, the European Space Agency (ESA) signs the contract for the GalileoSat study, the ESA's contribution to the definition phase of the Galileo satellite navigation programme, agreed last May by the ESA Council at ministerial level. On the same week, in Brussels, the European Commission will give its green light to sign four major contracts with industry. Together, these contracts will cover the definition phase of the Galileo programme (November 1999- December 2000) agreed in June by the European Union Council of Ministers of Transport.
The signature of these contracts marks a true milestone in the development of a novel programme for Europe. Once implemented, Galileo will be a multimodal global navigation satellite system that will not only give Europe independence in the field of traffic management and telematics infrastructure but bring vast economic benefits for European equipment manufacturers and service industry and create additional jobs. Current projections envisage that the Galileo system will consist of at least 21 satellites (in medium earth orbit at 24 000 km, possibly complemented by geostationary satellites at 36 000 km) and the associated ground infrastructure. It will be compatible and interoperable with the planned second-generation global positioning systems.
The cost of the overall project is estimated at some 2.7 billion euros, out of which an initial amount of 80 million Euros, equally shared between the European Commission and ESA, has been allocated by European Ministers for the on-going definition phase. Financial schemes for the subsequent phases are being worked out and will be submitted to the EC and ESA's Councils . Under current plans, Galileo will start operations in 2005 and achieve full operational capability in 2008.
Together with the GalieloSat contract of ESA, the four contracts of the European Commission with industry cover the Galileo definition phase, from November 1999 to December 2000. The contract for the GalileoSat definition study, worth 20 million Euros, comprises the definition of the Galileo space segment (the satellite constellation) and of its ground systems. The industrial consortium led by Alenia Aerospazio involves more than 50 European subcontractors.
Out of the four contracts of the Europen Commission, the main one, named GALA for GALileo overall Architecture definition, is worth 27 milion Euros aims at defining the mission specification, the global architecture and system specifications for Galileo. It also covers interfacing with other activities planned during the Galileo definition phase, to ensure that the architectural design is fully coordinated and coherent. The GALA industrial consortium led by Alcatel Space (France) is made up of over 60 European companies.
The three other contracts of the Commission address complementary Galileo issues, such as service definition (GEMINUS with an industrial consortium led by RACAL), EGNOS integration into Galileo (INTEG, with an industrial consortium led by Alcatel Space) and Galileo Standardization (SAGA, with an industrial consortium led by Sextant Avionique). These three contracts are fully coordinated with the main GALA contract and the GalieloSat definition study.
Coordination between ESA and the European Commission on management of the Galileo programme is being organised through a Programme Management Board reporting to an EU Steering Committee.
For further information:
Franco Bonacina, ESA Public Relations
Tel. + 33 1 5369 7155
Fax. + 33 1 5369 7690
More info on ESA on http://www.esa.int