European GNSS Galileo*

The European global navigation satellite system (GNSS) project is a joint initiative of the European Union and the European Space Agency ESA aimed at developing an independent European satellite navigation system. At the same time, this global system will be compatible with the American GPS system.

Funded by the EU, the project covers all aspects of the overall system architecture. The work packages for the overall system are being awarded in six segments. The EU is the customer and ESA the procurement agency. 

OHB System has been awarded as the prime contractor for 22 of the new FOC "Full Operational Capability" satellites for the European GNSS system. UK based company Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) is the partner in this OHB-led syndicate and responsible for the payload.

OHB-System has over 30 years of experience in developing, building, integrating and operating satellites and satellite constellations. In particular, it has gained expertise of relevance from the SAR-Lupe project.  Comprising 5 radar satellites, this constellation was implemented for the German Federal Armed Forces despite extremely strict budget and schedule requirements. The contract covered the development, fabrication, integration and launch of the constellation as well as its operation over a period of ten years. OHB has also previously worked for ESA, e.g. in connection with the SGEO project as part of the ARTES-11 program.

SSTL has extensive experience when it comes to innovative and inexpensive small satellites. Recently, it fabricated and successfully launched the RapidEye-constellation comprising 5 satellites for a German customer. SSTL has also been involved in European GNSS for several years via the successful implementation of Giove-A. ESA declared this project a "full mission success" in 2008.


In January 2010, OHB System has been selected as Prime Contractor for the first 14 FOC satellites of the GNSS system with a total volume of 566 million Euros. In January 2012, OHB System also awarded the contract for further eight units amounting to 255 million Euros. OHB as prime contractor has already developed the satellite platform as well as integrated the first satellites. Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. of Great Britain has developed and integrated the payload.


*The FOC (full operational capability) phase of the Galileo program is being funded and executed by the European Union. The European Commission and the European Space Agency ESA have signed a contract under which ESA acts as the development and sourcing agency on behalf of the Commission. The view expressed here does not necessary reflect the official position of the European Union and/or ESA. “Galileo” is a registered trademark owned by the EU and ESA and registered under OHIM application number 002742237.