New OHB satellites for Galileo start in 2014

The European Commission in Brussels has signed further contracts for satellites and launchers to ensure Galileo is firmly on track for the provision of improved satellite navigation services to citizens in 2014.
In total, three contracts were signed including a contract signed with Germany’s OHB System for eight satellites worth €250 million.
A second contract was signed with France’s Arianespace for a booking option of up to three launches using Ariane 5 (booking fee of €30 million).
A third contract was signed with France’s Astrium to enable the current Ariane 5 launcher to carry four Galileo programme satellites per launch into orbit, for an amount in the order of €30 million.
Galileo satellites are currently launched in pairs aboard the Russian Soyuz rocket. “Thanks to the highly competitive proposal of the contractor and increasing the number of satellites which will be launched in orbit by 2014, the Commission has been able to accelerate the process,” said the EC in a statement.
Antonio Tajani, European Commission Vice-President, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship said: “For Galileo, today’s signing signifies the concrete roll-out of the programme is on time and within budget. I am proud that we could manage to speed up the delivery of satellites and launchers. This means that Europeans will be able to exploit the opportunities of enhanced satellite navigation provided by Galileo in 2014. I am also proud to see that Europe has a highly competitive space industry capable of realising such an ambitious high tech programme.”
Galileo will allow users to know their exact position in time and space, just like GPS, but with greater precision and reliability. Under European civilian control, Galileo will be compatible and, for some of its services, interoperable with the American GPS and Glonass (Russia), but independent from them.
The eight satellites ordered today will join the 18 satellites already contracted – two of which have been in orbit since October 2011 – bringing to 26 the number of satellites by end 2015.
A second launch of a further two Galileo satellites will take place later this year.
The Galileo programme has been structured in two phases:
The in-orbit validation (IOV) phase consists of tests and the operation of four satellites and their related ground infrastructure. This phase is ongoing.
The full operational capability (FOC) phase consists of the deployment of the remaining ground and space infrastructure. It includes an initial operational capability phase of 18 operational satellites. The full system will consist of 30 satellites in orbit, as well as two satellites on the ground to replace ones in orbit if necessary, and include control centres located in Europe and a network of sensor stations and uplink stations installed around the globe.
A framework contract signed with both OHB System AG and EADS-Astrium GmBH lasting from 2010 until 2016 covers the supply of up to 32 satellites. A specific contract for a first order of 14 satellites was awarded to OHB in 2010, with the provision of the first satellite in 2012. One satellite is expected every 1.5 month as of then, with the last one scheduled to be delivered in 2014.

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