Last Thursday December 15th, the European Commission formally announced the start of Galileo Initial Services, which represents the first step towards full operational capability. There are now 18 satellites in orbit, and the system performance and availability worldwide will improve gradually with the future launches. The full Galileo constellation will consist of 24 satellites plus orbital spares that will prevent any interruption in service.
Galileo is now providing three types of services:
The Open Service, a free mass-market service for users with enabled chipsets in, for instance, smartphones and car navigation systems. Fully interoperable with GPS, combined coverage will deliver more accurate and reliable positioning for users.
Galileo’s Public Regulated Service, an encrypted, robust service for government-authorised users such as civil protection, fire brigades and the police.
The Search and Rescue Service, Europe’s contribution to the long-running Cospas–Sarsat international emergency beacon location.
Elecnor Deimos has developed three Galileo Ground Mission Segment main facilities as prime contractor, participating also in the space and user segments
Elecnor Deimos has been present in the Galileo project since its establishment, having participated in the Pre-development phase, the Phase C0 and Phase C/D, in all segments. In the ground segment, Elecnor Deimos has provided support to ESA for the integrity concept definition and has developed three Ground Mission Segment main facilities as prime contractor:
Galileo Raw Data Generator (RDG): an environment simulator that generates very accurately simulated synthetic data allowing tests of Algorithms prototypes, Operational elements and the Galileo Mission System.
Message Generation Facility (MGF): one of the most critical elements of the Galileo GMS, responsible for the generation of the navigation message to be up-linked to the Galileo constellation. The MGF operational strict real-time embedded software has been developed under the strict Galileo Software Standard. The software executes on three time-synchronized processing boards and on a partitioned Operating System, which allows isolating the most critical functionalities from the rest. It is working operationally at full customer satisfaction.
Mission Support Facility (MSF): for system monitoring and calibration. It computes off-line Orbit Determination and Time Synchronisation (OD&TS), providing estimated orbits and the offset between the satellite and station clocks with respect to the Galileo System Time, used to calibrate the operational OD&TS of the GMS, the Orbit & Synchronisation Processing Facility (OSPF). It also performs the Satellite Model Calibration, Historical Signal-In-Space Calibration and Pre-processing Residual Error Calibrations.
In the space segment, Elecnor Deimos provides engineering support to ESA with on-site collocated staff. For the user segment, Deimos has participated in the Second Source Test User Segment (TUS), as a subcontractor of Septentrio, developing the Off-line TUR Analysis Tool. In addition, Deimos has its own Galileo receiver prototype. Elecnor Deimos has a leading role in promoting applications taking advantage of the unique capabilities of Galileo such as the accurate E5 signals, space use or reflectometry. The company has carried out several award-winning FP7 and H2020 projects, such as COREGAL.
ESA Director general Jan Woerner noted, “For ESA, this is a very important moment in the programme. We know that the performance of the system is excellent. The announcement of Initial Services is the recognition that the effort, time and money invested by ESA and the Commission has succeeded, that the work of our engineers and other staff has paid off, that European industry can be proud of having delivered this fantastic system.”