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Surrey hi-tech company to play leading role in next phase of EU's Galileo satellite navigation project
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Guildford-based Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) will play a key role in a £200 million plus contract signed in London today for the next phase of the EU's Galileo satellite navigation project. Galileo is firmly on track for the provision of improved satellite navigation services to the public in 2014.

    Surrey hi-tech company to play leading role in next phase of EU's Galileo satellite navigation project

    Three contracts in all are being signed by the European Space Agency on behalf of the European Commission at the Commission's London office today. European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani and UK Universities and Science Minister David Willetts are due to witness the signing and address a gathering of stakeholders and media. (Video and photos will be available via the Europe by Satellite service at

    The largest contract, for eight satellites, is worth EUR255m (about £213m) and will be undertaken by a consortium headed up by German company OHB System AG, which is responsible for the satellite platforms and overall integration.

    SSTL – which is already closely involved with Galileo under previous contracts (see Annex for more details) is a key part of the consortium and is building the navigation payloads for the eight satellites. The value of this part of the work is estimated at around EUR90m (about £75m).

    A second contract was signed with Arianespace (France) for a booking option of up to 3 launches using Ariane 5 (booking fee of EUR30 million, £25m). A third contract was signed with Astrium SAS (France) to enable the current Ariane 5 launcher to carry 4 Galileo programme satellites per launch into orbit, for an amount in the order of EUR 30 million (£25m). Galileo satellites are currently launched in pairs aboard the Russian Soyuz rocket.

    Thanks to the contractors' highly competitive proposal and to increasing the number of satellites which will be launched in orbit by 2014, the Commission has been able to accelerate the process.

    Antonio Tajani, European Commission Vice-President responsible for industry and entrepreneurship said: "For Galileo, today's signing signifies that 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 benefit from 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.”

    UK Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: "It is excellent that such a significant contract has been awarded to UK industry. This is testament to the continued success of the UK space sector and our strengths in manufacturing highly advanced satellite technology. I’m particularly proud that a British company will be continuing to help progress the Galileo programme."

    Galileo Navigation system

    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.

    Galileo will underpin many sectors of the European economy through its services: electricity grids, fleet management companies, financial transactions, shipping industry, rescue operations, peace-keeping missions will all benefit from the free Galileo services.

    The eight satellites ordered today will join the 18 satellites already contracted, of which two are in orbit since October 21st 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 2 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.

    Background on procurement of Galileo components

    Today's contracts were signed by the European Space Agency on behalf of the European Commission.

    The procurement of services essential for Galileo’s full operational capability is divided into six contracts. In January 2010, three contracts were awarded to ensure system engineering support, satellites and launchers (IP/10/7). A fourth contract was signed in Brussels in October 2010 with SpaceOpal for operating the space and ground infrastructure (IP/10/1382). In June 2011 (IP/11/772) the final two remaining contracts were signed with ThalesAlenia (FR) for the ground mission infrastructure and Astrium (UK) for the ground control infrastructure.

    The process kicked off in July 2008 by the European Space Agency, under delegation from the European Commission. Short-listed companies were invited to submit best and final offers following a comprehensive dialogue phase. All contracts are awarded on the basis of “best value for money”.


    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 six weeks or so as of then, with the last one scheduled to be delivered in 2014.

    Launch services

    In 2010, a contract was awarded to Arianespace for the launch of five Soyuz launchers from Kourou, French Guiana, each taking two satellites on board. The contract also contains options for additional Soyuz launches (carrying two satellites) and Ariane 5 launches (carrying four satellites).

    Today’s contract with Astrium SAS (FR) procures the technical adaptation of the typical Ariane 5 launcher to the specific needs of the Galileo satellites. The adaptation introduces the possibility of four satellites per launch, thereby speeding up the deployment of the constellation.


    UK participation in the satellite contract and Galileo space segment

    For this second contract (second work order of eight satellites) of EUR255m (£212m) with OHB, SSTL (UK) is the "payload" contractor for about EUR90m (£75m) of the contract costs. ABSL (UK) will provide batteries for EUR1.6m (£1.3m) and COMDEV (UK) will provide filters for EUR1m (£0.83m).

    SSTL has already a strong participation in the on-going first satellite contract (first work order of 14 satellites), as it is also acting as "payload contractor" for about EUR230m (£192m) of the total contract costs of about EUR560m (£467m).

    Further, SSTL was responsible for the manufacture of the GIOVE-A (Galileo test satellite) which was launched on 28 December 2008.

    SSTL is located in Guildford in the Surrey Research Park. It is owned 99% by EADS Astrium and 1% by the University of Surrey. Its CEO is Dr. Matt Perkins.

    For the 4 IOV satellites, the first two of which were launched in October 2011, Astrium (UK) was responsible for the development and integration of the satellites' navigation payload, working for the prime contractor Astrium (Germany).

    UK participation in Galileo ground segment

    The Galileo Work Package 3 (Ground Control Segment) was signed with Astrium (UK) in June 2011 for EUR73.5m (£61m)

    At the same time in June 2011 Galileo Work Package 2 (Ground Mission Segment) was signed with Thales (France) for EUR281m (£234m), with substantial work going to Logica (UK) for security elements, including the Galileo Security Monitoring Centre (GSMC).

    UK hosting of sites

    UK and France are jointly responsible for hosting the GSMC which will comprise two parts. A first part will be operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in Saint Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, and a second part based in Swanwick, near to Southampton, will function as a warm back up centre. The GSMC will be operated by the European GNSS Agency (GSA).

    The UK will also host Galileo Sensor Stations on UK territories such as Ascension Island and possibly on Diego Garcia.

    Furthermore, for the related EGNOS project, the UK hosts a Mission Control Centre in Swanwick, and Ranging and Integrity Monitoring Stations (RIMS) in Swanwick and Glasgow.

    For more information, please contact the London press office on 020 7973 1971.
    All amounts expressed in sterling are approximate and will change with exchange rate fluctuations

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    Last update: 02/02/2012  |Top