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Precise positioning from space

Leadership in European satellite navigation

Galileo satellites in orbit around the Earth

Airbus has been at the forefront of Europe’s satellite-based navigation systems, providing major system expertise to the European Space Agency, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) and the European Union since inception of the Galileo satnav programme.

Two experimental spacecraft (named GIOVE-A and GIOVE-B) were built by the Airbus-owned subsidiary Surrey Satellite Technology in the UK and launched in December 2005 and April 2008 to demonstrate critical Galileo technologies in orbit. They were succeeded by four fully- representative satellites from Airbus that allowed the successful In-Orbit Validation (IOV) of the Galileo system and helped to perform the first-ever Galileo-only position fix in 2013.

Since then, navigation payloads of all Galileo satellites in orbit as of 2019 were built by Airbus’ Surrey Satellites Technology Ltd (SSTL). Airbus will deliver system and services support to European Space Agency, the European GNSS Agency for the Galileo Exploitation Phase until at least 2020.

Inside the Ground Control Center for the Galileo constellation

From the beginning of Galileo through 2018, Airbus was prime contractor for the satellite navigation system’s ground control segment, which provides the day-to-day control for all the Galileo satellites in orbit. Looking ahead, Airbus is now involved in the development teams for Galileo Second Generation (G2G), evaluating major evolutions for the mission and control ground segment). Additionally, Airbus is a leading provider of navigation payloads for the European Augmentation System and it also delivers payloads for the American counterpart WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System).

Continuing its leadership, Airbus is proposing to develop EGNOS V3 – the second generation of the European Satellite Based Augmentation System Galileo and the U.S. GPS satnav system, with improved performance and security features for civil aviation, along with new services for maritime and land users. Airbus leads an industrial consortium of 20 European companies. 

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