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The European Space Agency (ESA) has ordered 12 second-generation satellites for the GALILEO European navigation system. Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space have each been contracted to deliver six satellites which will be put into orbit from 2024 and reinforce the existing 28 satellites there. The first generation of satellites was largely supplied by OHB.

With their new capabilities based on high technologies (digitally configurable antennas, inter-satellite links and use of all-electric propulsion systems), these satellites will improve GALILEO’s accuracy as well as robustness to interference, jamming and signal resilience. This second generation is equipped with a more robust and reliable solution, protected against cyber-attacks to ensure higher service availability and an operational lifetime of 15 years.

With GALILEO, the EU has established a Global Navigation Satellite System that provides its services independently of the USA (GPS), Russia (GLONASS) and China (BEIDUO). Since 2019, anyone can use the navigation service by GALILEO. For authorities, rescue services and armed forces, further – protected – services are available on reserved channels.

Gerhard Heiming