EU signs orders for eight new Galileo space satellites

Feb 02, 2012
A model of the Galileo satellite hangs at the German Aerospace Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, near Wessling, Bavaria, in 2011. The EU on Thursday signed contracts with German and French engineering firms to build and launch another eight satellites for its Galileo geopositioning system.

The EU on Thursday signed contracts with German and French engineering firms to build and launch another eight satellites for its Galileo geopositioning system.

Aiming to provide rival global satellite navigation services from 2014, the contract with Germany's OHB System AG is for 250 million euros, with France's and Astrium SAS sharing launch orders worth another 60 million euros.

"For Galileo, today's signing signifies the concrete roll-out of the programme is on time and within budget," Antonio Tajani, European Union industry commissioner, said in a statement.

The signings were in London.

Galileo satellites are currently launched in pairs aboard the and the first two went up in October from the Kourou space base in EU , South America.

That was the first time that Soyuz -- a national treasure for Russia -- had launched other than from Russia's bases at and Baikonur.

Galileo, budgeted at 5.4 billion euros (7.2 billion dollars), is intended to give Europe independence in satellite navigation, a vital component of the 21st-century economy, from the US (GPS).

When completed in 2020, the EU-funded system will comprise 27 operational satellites and three spares.

They will orbit at a height of 23,200 kilometres (14,400 miles) in three orbital planes, providing accuracy to within a metre (3.25 feet), compared to three to eight metres (10 and 26 feet) for GPS, according to official websites.

According to the European Commission, the market for geopositioning services will grow from 130 billion euros ($180 billion) in 2010 to 240 billion euros by 2020.

Explore further: Liquid crystal bubble OASIS in space

Related Stories

Factfile on Galileo, Europe's rival to GPS

Oct 16, 2011

Following is a snapshot of Europe's Galileo space-based navigation system, the first satellites of which are scheduled to be launched on Thursday from Kourou, French Guiana.

Final checks for first Soyuz launch from Kourou

Oct 20, 2011

Launch directors on Thursday were running through the last checks for the maiden liftoff of Soyuz, the legendary Soviet-Russian rocket, from Europe's base in French Guiana.

Europe defends 'stupid' Galileo satellite

Jan 18, 2011

Europe stood by its much-delayed and over-budget Galileo satellite navigation system on Tuesday despite a rising price tag and a contractor's description of the project as "stupid." ...

Europe sets sights again on Soyuz launch

Oct 21, 2011

Engineers were eyeing a second bid at the historic launch of a Soyuz rocket from Europe's space base in South America after a countdown was scrubbed by a refuelling hitch.

Recommended for you

The weird ways fire behaves in space (w/ Video)

25 minutes ago

Light a match on earth and you can expect the flame to shoot up in a tapering bulb. But light that match in space and you might not even recognize the small, blue orb at the tip. That's because fire behaves ...

Liquid crystal bubble OASIS in space

15 hours ago

No matter how beautiful or crystal clear the bubbling waters of an oasis may be, they seldom lead to technology breakthroughs. Yet, NASA's OASIS investigation's bubbles may lead to an ocean of new improvements ...

Zapping away space junk

Apr 27, 2015

Planet Earth is surrounded. Thousands of tons of dangerous space debris circle in low orbit, threatening serious damage, even death, if any were to strike the International Space Station. A proposal by a ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

alfie_null
not rated yet Feb 04, 2012
They will orbit at a height of 23,200 kilometres (14,400 miles)

It's 35,786 km (22,236 mi) according to Wikipedia. Wish we could lose these stupid English units.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.