Thales and Airbus to manufacture the first twelve second-generation Galileo satellites
The European Space Agency (ESA), on behalf of the European Commission, awarded Thales Alenia Space, Italy, and Airbus Defence & Space, Germany, two contracts of an overall value of €1.47 billion to design and build the 12 satellites composing “Batch 1” of the second generation (G2) Galileo navigation system.
These second-generation satellites will join the 26 first-generation satellites in orbit and the 12 “Batch 3” satellites which will be launched from the end of this year. Batch 3” satellites are already being tested at the ESTEC as per our recent news item here.
These satellites will offer lots of improvements compared to the previous generation, including;
- Electrical propulsion system to bring the satellites from the launch orbit to the operational orbit,
- Inter-satellite link to make satellites able to cross-check their performance to reduce their dependency on ground stations,
- Improved navigation antenna,
- Improved atomic clock,
- Updated anti-jamming and anti-spoofing systems.
The European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) anticipates that Galileo’s second-generation satellites will enhance the existing services and provide a sub-decimetre accuracy to every user.
These are not the only contracts that have been signed recently, GMV, a key player in the European space industry with a key role in ground segment development, will lead the supply of a Galileo Constellation Simulator which will be used to test the Galileo G2 constellation deployment in terms of radio frequency signals emitted by satellites, multipath and interferences. Thales has been awarded a contract to develop new Advanced Orbit Determination and Time Synchronisation (ODTS) algorithms that aim to take full advantage of the new technologies present on G2 Galileo satellites.