GALILEO gives Europe independent access to the key technology of satellite navigation.
Satellite-based applications are already an integral part of daily life: for instance, within the framework of car-sharing schemes in urban areas, delivery tracking, rescue operations and crisis situations or for enhancing efficiency in agriculture.
The potential added value of associated innovations offers enormous opportunities for growth and prosperity in Germany and Europe.
Moreover, with the GALILEO Public Regulated Service (PRS) (in German) – one of the navigation services of the system – GALILEO offers for the first time a specially protected, encrypted navigation signal for civil use.
The current development status of the GALILEO constellation
In December 2016, when the so-called “Initial Services” were declared, the GALILEO system entered the operational phase. Since then, users have been able to use signals from GALILEO satellites in space.
Initially, the Open Service (OS), the Search and Rescue (SAR) service as well as the Public Regulated Service (PRS) are available.
The basis for this step is the continuous progress in the deployment of the GALILEO system, including a total of seven successful launches from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guyana since 2015.
Part of this series of successes were, among others, three launches of the European Ariane 5 launcher in November 2016, December 2017 and, most recently, in July 2018 – the first time that four navigation satellites per launcher were sent into space at the same time.
The number of satellites in space is now 26. GALILEO is thus in principle fully operational.
On the website of the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), users can access the current status of the individual satellites as well as of the overall constellation.
In the years ahead, the constellation will be continuously completed.
The services of the GALILEO programme
GALILEO offers different services for different fields of application:
- The Open Service (OS) is available for applications of any description and free of charge. This service has been available to the general public, with some restrictions, since 2016.
- The signal of the High Accuracy Service (HAS) complements the Open Service with correction data and offers positioning with an accuracy of 20 centimetres. The HAS is mainly used for professional and commercial purposes.
- GALILEO’s Search and Rescue Service (SAR) makes an important contribution to the COSPAS-SARSAT system. Persons in need of help can make an emergency call and will receive confirmation (“Help is on its way”) by way of a novel return link via the GALILEO satellites. This also entails a significant reduction in response times.
- With the Public Regulated Service (PRS) (in German), for the first time, a specially protected, encrypted navigational signal is made available to authorized civil users.
The deployment of the Galileo system is being funded exclusively from the budget of the European Union. With funding totalling 8 billion euros, GALILEO accounts for the largest share of the European Commission’s space budget for the period from 2021 to 2027. In addition, monies are available from Horizon 2020, the EU's Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.
EGNOS – the regional supplementary system
EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) is Europe’s regional supplementary system for satellite-based position determination. Via a network of ground stations and geo-stationary satellites, it increases the accuracy of open signals of global satellite navigation systems to 1 to 2 metres.
Moreover, with the safety-of-life service, it provides integrity information. Whenever the positioning accuracy of the signals is no longer within the specified limits, the user receives a warning. This makes a wider use of satellite-based navigation possible also in safety-of-life applications, for instance in aviation.
EGNOS has been available since as early as 2009, the safety-of-life service since 2011. An EGNOS-based approach procedure is already being used at almost 200 airports in Europe, including at Paris Charles de Gaulle international airport. By means of the future integration of the open GALILEO signal, the quality of EGNOS will continue to increase.