SSTL to Develop Third Batch of Galileo Navigation Payloads

Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) will now be commencing work on building 8 new navigation payloads for Galileo, Europe’s global navigation satellite system. The Authority to Proceed contract signed by SST with the prime contractor OHB-System AG will be worth approximately €140m, and is a continuation of a long and successful cooperation between SSTL and OHB-System AG, with the pairing having previously built 22 FOC satellites for the Galileo Constellation.

SSTL’s state-of-the-art Galileo FOC payload consists of different units including European sourced atomic clocks, navigation signal generators, high power travelling wave tube amplifiers and antennas. The payload proposal for Batch 3 is for a recurrent build of the existing payload, with an evolution of the atomic clocks to incorporate advances made under the European GNSS Evolution Programme. Fourteen of SSTL’s Galileo FOC navigation payloads are currently operational in orbit, with a further eight payloads already delivered to OHB for integration and test.

The company has been involved in the Galileo programme since 2003 with the design and build of GIOVE-A, Galileo’s pathfinder mission. GIOVE-A was launched in 2005 and is still operational today, providing valuable data about the radiation environment in Medium Earth Orbit. An experimental GPS receiver on board GIOVE-A is also used to map out the antenna patterns of GPS satellites for use in planning navigation systems for future high altitude missions in Geostationary orbit, and beyond into deep space.

The Full Operational Capability phase of the Galileo programme is managed and fully funded by the European Union. The Commission and ESA have signed a delegation agreement by which ESA acts as design and procurement agent on behalf of the Commission.

Some Key facts about the Galileo Mission:

  • Galileo Full Operational Capability Works Order 1 for 14 satellites was placed with the OHB-SSTL team in 2010.
  • Galileo Full Operational Capability Works Order 2 for 8 satellites was placed with the OHB-SSTL team in 2012.
  • Operational Galileo satellites launch began in 2011 with system completion scheduled for 2020.
  • The fully deployed Galileo system to consist of 24 operational satellites plus in-orbit spares, positioned in three circular Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) planes at 23 222 km altitude above the Earth, and at an inclination of the orbital planes of 56 degrees to the equator.