Two New Satellites Join Europe’s Galileo Navigation System

Galileo delivers positioning, navigation and timing services to citizens worldwide while picking up distress signals across the globe for emergency support. The program has now increased its satellite system provision to 16 satellites by making operational number 15th and 16th. These were two of the four Galileos that were launched together by Ariane 5 on November 17.

These two satellites reinforce the provision of Galileo Initial Services, which were declared on December 15th, 2016. This will be further strengthened after the other two satellites launched in November also become commissioned. Additional satellites will be launched over the course of the coming years, enlarging the Galileo constellation and gradually improving Galileo’s global performance. The constellation is set to reach full operational capability by 2020.

The Galileo program is funded and owned by the European Union. The European Commission has the overall responsibility for the Galileo program, managing and overseeing the implementation of all activities. Galileo's deployment, the design and development of the new generation of systems and the technical development of infrastructure are entrusted to the European Space Agency (ESA).

As of 2017, the European GNSS Agency (GSA is responsible for all Galileo operations and the provision of Galileo services.  The GSA is also charged with ensuring the uptake and security of Galileo.

Initial Services

Initial Service Declaration

The GSA, through its GNSS Service Centre, has recently published the first Galileo report since the program’s initial services declaration. The report, now available online, covers the first three months of 2017 and confirms the good performance of Galileo Initial Services to date.

The report shows the 11 satellites then operating in the Galileo constellation were able to provide healthy signals 97.33 percent of the time on a per-satellite basis, with a ranging accuracy better than 1.07 m. This user level performance is expected to improve with the launch of more satellites making the provided Galileo services more accurate, more available and more robust for end users.

“It was thanks to the tremendous effort of ESA’s Galileo team working closely together with colleagues from the commission and GSA that this milestone could be achieved: the key pillars for reaching are the currently deployed Galileo satellites in combination with the global Galileo ground segment infrastructure, defined and implemented by the ESA team with their respective industry partners,” said Joerg Hahn, ESA’s Head of Galileo System Procurement Service.

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