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Brussels, 26 October 2010

Galileo: signature of major contract leading to initial services in 2014

The European Commission announced today the signing of a fourth contract, out of a total of six, for the procurement of full operations capability for Galileo, Europe’s global navigation satellite programme. The contract has been awarded to SpaceOpal GmbH - a joint venture created by DLR GfR (Germany) and Telespazio S.p.A (Italy) - for the operations of the space and ground infrastructure This will lead to the initial deployment and service provision of Galileo in 2014.

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship said: “Galileo is becoming a reality. Europe will have its own independent satellite navigation system capable of high precision and reliability. We are fully committed to the roll-out of the system. Given the increased reliance of companies and citizens on satellite navigation, Galileo will play an important role in our daily lives. The award of the contract to SpaceOpal, a German-Italian joint venture, demonstrates clearly what can be achieved at a European level with significant economic benefits for industry and their partners”.

The contract, valued at €194 million, is signed by the European Space Agency on behalf of the European Commission through a delegation agreement. The contract awarded to SpaceOpal GmbH covers the industrial services needed to support the European Space Agency in the operations of the satellites as well as the operations of the ground infrastructure.

SpaceOpal GmbH is a joint venture created by the German Aerospace Centre (DLR GfR) and Telespazio S.p.A. of Italy. Other members of the SpaceOpal team come from various Member States across Europe.

The procurement 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 (see IP/10/7). The two remaining procurement contracts, for the completion of the ground mission infrastructure and the ground control infrastructure, will be awarded in early 2011.

Galileo services

In 2014, Galileo is expected to become operational and will provide three initial services: the Open Service (free), the Public Regulated Service (IP/10/1301) and the Search-And Rescue Service. .

Background - Why Europe needs Galileo

Galileo guarantees Europe's independence in satellite navigation, a sector that has become critical for its economy and for the well-being of its citizens. Galileo also helps Europe develop its know-how in the space, receivers and applications sectors, securing economic revenues and jobs. The combination of Galileo and Global Positioning System (GPS) signals in dual receivers will open the door to new applications that require a higher level of precision than available today with GPS alone.

Galileo is expected to deliver €90 billion to the European economy over a period of about 12 years in terms of additional revenues for the industry and in terms of public benefits, not counting the benefit of independence (IP/10/728).

It is worth noting that not only has the United States (GPS) constructed its own GNSS (global navigation satellite system) – Russia, Japan, India and China are also developing their global and regional satellite navigation systems.

For more information about Galileo, please visit .

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