The Galileo programme is Europe's initiative for a state-of-the-art global satellite navigation system, providing a highly accurate global positioning service under civilian control. The fully deployed system will consist of 30 satellites and the associated ground infrastructure. Galileo will provide Europe with independence in satellite navigation but will also be inter-operable with GPS and GLONASS, the two other global satellite navigation systems.

In short, Galileo will offer greater:

  • Precision: Thanks to a greater number of Galileo signals, the new satellite clock design, and improved corrections of ionospheric effects, positions computed with Galileo satellites will be more accurate. When combined with GPS, the higher number of satellites available will also offer higher precision. From most locations, six to eight Galileo satellites will be visible, and in combination with GPS signals, this will allow positioning to within a few centimeters, depending on the service used.
  • Availability: The high number of satellites will improve the availability of signals in cities where tall buildings can obstruct signals from satellites that are low on the horizon.

Galileo services and applications

Galileo will initially offer three high-performance navigation and positioning services from 2016 at the latest:

  • Open Service: Galileo open and free of user charge signals set up for navigation and time services;
  • Public Regulated Service: a special Galileo navigation service using encrypted signals set up for better management of critical transport and emergency services, better law enforcement, improved border control, and safer peace missions;
  • Search and Rescue Service: Europe’s contribution to COSPAS-SARSAT, an international satellite-based search and rescue distress alert detection system.

A Commercial Service that gives access to two additional encrypted signals is being tested since 2015 and will be provided when the system reaches full operational capability:

Together, these services can be used in a wide variety of applications including aviation, search and rescue, and agriculture.

More information:

Latest developments

New Galileo OS SIS ICD version 1.2 published

The Galileo OS SIS ICD v1.2, published on 30 November 2015, is the latest version of the document. It contains:

  • the publicly available information on the Galileo Open Service Signal In Space, specifying the interface between the Galileo Space Segment and the Galileo User Segment
  • numerous corrections and clarifications with respect to the previous version, which was published in 2010
  • a new annex with numerical examples of FEC coding and interleaving
  • a revised and simplified licence agreement
  • cross-references to the companion document "Ionospheric Correction Algorithm for Galileo Single Frequency Users"
  • the E1-B, E1-C and E5 Primary Codes in Annex C are available in the electronic version of the ICD.

Galileo OS SIS ICD v1.2

Ionospheric Correction Algorithm for Galileo Single Frequency Users

Frequently asked questions (3 MB)

Paper copies are available on request by contacting the European Commission at

Galileo Open Service: Ionospheric Correction Algorithm for Galileo Single Frequency Users

Galileo, the Global Satellite Navigation Programme of the European Union, published a detailed description of the model used to compensate for the errors arising from interference when navigation signals broadcast by Galileo and other global satellite navigation systems such as GPS pass through the ionosphere.

EU successfully launched two Galileo satellites

Galileo, the EU's satellite navigation programme, placed two more satellites into orbit. The lift-off took place on 27 March at 22.46 CET from the European spaceport near Kourou in French Guiana. Signals proving that the satellites were positioned as expected have been received.

Elżbieta Bieńkowska, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, commented: "We demonstrated again that Europe has state-of-the-art know-how, cutting edge technology, and the vision and determination to accomplish great things."

EU-U.S. Cooperation on Satellite Navigation, Working Group C - ARAIM Technical Subgroup, Milestone II Report

The “EU-U.S. Cooperation on Satellite Navigation, Working Group C-ARAIM Technical Subgroup, Milestone 2 Report” details further accomplishments in developing the concept of Advanced RAIM (ARAIM) as a future basis for multi-constellation support for global air navigation. It follows the release of the “Interim Report” - published in February 2013.

Public consultations

Why the EU needs Galileo

Many sectors of the European economy are increasingly reliant on satellite navigation services in transport, logistics, telecommunications, energy, and other applications. The market for satellite navigation services has been growing steadily and is expected to be worth EUR 250 billion per year by 2022. Today, around 6-7% of the EU economy is dependent on the availability of global navigation satellite signals.

Independent studies show that Galileo will deliver around €90 billion to the EU economy over the first 20 years of operations. This includes direct revenues for the space, receivers, and applications industries, and indirect revenues for society such as more effective transport systems, more effective rescue operations, etc.

The goal of the EU’s satellite navigation programmes (Galileo and EGNOS) is to:

  • achieve technological independence with respect to other global navigation satellite systems;
  • mobilise the economic and strategic advantages of having European control over the continuous availability of satellite navigation services;
  • facilitate the development of new products and services based on satellite signals;
  • generate related technological benefits for research, development, and innovation.

What the European Commission does

The European Commission analyses the impact that satellite navigation has on competitiveness in four main segments of the EU economy:

  • Upstream – the contribution of the European space industry to the building of global satellite navigation systems;
  • Service provision – European businesses supplying commercial or public positioning, navigation, or timing services;
  • Downstream – the European applications industry which depends on service provision to supply the hardware and software needed to exploit satellite signals;
  • End users – businesses using services and applications provided by satellite signals.