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Defence Industry and Space


About Galileo

Galileo is Europe's global navigation satellite system. It provides accurate and reliable positioning and timing information for autonomous and connected cars, railways, aviation and other sectors. Galileo has been operational since December 2016, when it started offering initial services to public authorities, businesses and citizens.

  • Galileo allows users to know their exact position with greater precision than what is offered by other available systems.
  • The products that people use every day, from the navigation device in your car to a mobile phone, benefit from the increased accuracy that Galileo provides.
  • Critical, emergency response-services benefit from Galileo.
  • Galileo’s services will make Europe’s roads and railways safer and more efficient.
  • Galileo provides Europe and European citizens with independence and sovereignty, an array of environmental benefits and several new services specific to the Galileo programme (Open Service, Commercial Service, Search and Rescue).

Europe launched its first two operational satellites for Galileo on 21 October 2011. In total, Galileo will consist of 30 satellites, control centers located in Europe, and a network of sensor stations and uplink stations installed around the globe.

Galileo services and applications

On 15 December 2016, the Declaration of Initial Services marked the beginning of Galileo’s operational phase. This means that anyone with a Galileo-enabled device is now able to use signals provided by Galileo's global satellite constellation for positioning, navigation and timing.           

With 26 satellites in orbit and their supporting ground infrastructure, Galileo is currently offering three Initial Services after an extensive testing period:

  • Open Service: a free mass-market service for positioning, navigation and timing;
  • Public Regulated Service: for government-authorised users, such as civil protection services, customs officers and the police. This system is particularly robust and fully encrypted to provide service continuity for government users during emergencies or crisis situations.
  • Search and Rescue Service: Europe’s contribution to the international distress beacon locating organisation COSPAS-SARSAT. Galileo's data helps to locate beacons and rescue people in distress in every kind of environment.

These services are free of charge and are available for citizens, business and authorities.

Galileo Initial Services are managed by the EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), based in Prague, Czech Republic.

For more information about Galileo Initial Services and on the Galileo system status, please visit the European GNSS Service Center

Why the EU needs Galileo

Many sectors of the European economy rely on precise localisation. The market for satellite navigation services has been growing steadily and is expected to be worth €250 billion per year by 2022. Today, around 7% of the EU economy is dependent on the availability of global navigation satellite signals. This includes transport, logistics, telecommunications and energy.

Our goal is to put the European Union on par with others, as several competitive systems are being built at the same time: Glonass in Russia, Beidou in China and the next generation of GPS in the USA.

We want to strengthen the competitiveness of our industry. Space is a source of industrial excellence and technological development with several potential spill-over effects into other sectors.

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 goals of the EU’s satellite navigation programmes (Galileo and EGNOS) are 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.

The Galileo programme is funded and owned by the EU.

The European Commission has overall responsibility for the programme, managing and overseeing the implementation of all activities on behalf of the EU.

Galileo's deployment, its design, and the development of the new generation of systems and the technical development of infrastructure is entrusted to the European Space Agency (ESA).

The Commission has delegated the operational management of the programme to EUSPA, which oversees how Galileo infrastructure is used and ensures that Galileo services are delivered as planned and without interruption.



➡️ Find out more about how Galileo impacts our lives at:

What is Galileo?

satellites, control centers located in Europe, and a network of sensor stations and uplink stations installed around the globe
EUR 175 billion
global GNSS market
€166 billion
estimated by 2029, revenue from added-value services relying on GNSS technology