About our company

spaceopal – We make Galileo fly

Since November 2010 spaceopal GmbH has been the main contractor for operational services for Galileo, the European Union’s global satellite navigation system. The Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) Operations Framework contract specifies the design of the Galileo satellite system, which is regulated by two control centres through a worldwide network of ground stations. The present constellation will be successively expanded by additional satellites – unlimited navigation will then be possible with a total of 30 operating satellites.

From 2020 the fully established constellation and infrastructure will consist of 30 satellites distributed over three orbits, approx. 20 sensor stations for monitoring the navigation signals, two control centres – one each in Oberpfaffenhofen (Bavaria, Germany) and Fucino (Abruzzo, Italy), five mission-uplink stations and five satellite control transmitting stations. As operator of the Galileo system spaceopal GmbH provides high-quality navigation for users worldwide.

The European satellite navigation programmes Galileo and EGNOS are important elements enhancing the international competitiveness of the european space and high-tech sector. Through its core business activities, spaceopal GmbH is making a key contribution to Europe‘s performance in the field of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS).

Spaceopal GmbH, with headquarters in Munich, is a joint venture founded in 2009 by the partners DLR Gesellschaft für Raumfahrtanwendungen (GfR) mbH and Telespazio S.p.A.

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DLR Telespazio DLR GfR mbH

The Galileo Programme

Galileo is Europe’s own global navigation satellite system, providing a highly accurate, guaranteed global positioning service under civilian control. It is interoperable with GPS and Glonass, the US and Russian global satellite navigation systems. By offering dual frequencies as standard, Galileo is set to deliver real-time positioning accuracy down to the metre range.

The fully deployed Galileo system will consist of 24 operational satellites plus six 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.

Initial services will be made available by the end of 2016. Then as the constellation is built-up beyond that, new services will be tested and made available, with system completion scheduled for 2020.

©Image: ESA

Learn more about the Galileo Programme


Core Business Activities

The core business activities of spaceopal GmbH which assure Galileo operation include:

  • Operations Management
  • Operations Engineering and Preparation
  • Launch and Early Operation Phase (LEOP)
  • Galileo Data Dissemination Network (GDDN)
  • In-orbit Test (IOT) Services
  • Integrated Logistics Services (ILS)
  • Maintenance and Operations (M&O)
  • Galileo Control Center Hosting (GCC) Service
  • Initial Services
  • Security Operations

Managing Directors

»Spaceopal is ensuring stability and continuity for the operation of the Galileo system, both now and in the future.

To challenge this task we work together in interdisciplinary and international teams.«

Giuseppe Lenzo, Managing Director

»Galileo is much more than operating satellites in space from control centres in Oberpfaffenhofen and Fucino. The overall operations management needs permanent connections, with infrastructure distributed around the globe. We are delighted to work closely together with our partners from industry and science on the realisation of Europe’s most prestigious satellite navigation system – Galileo.«

Simon Plum, Managing Director

Control Centres

Two control centres in Fucino and in Oberpfaffenhofen, the one built by Telespazio at its Fucino Space Centre near L’Aquila and the other centre built by the German Aerospace Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen will manage the 30 satellites and the operational activities of the Galileo European Navigation System.


The Galileo Control Centre  (GCC) in Fucino, which was part financed by the Abruzzo region, covers around 5,000 square metres and will contain more than 200 operators when fully operational. The GCC will handle the transmission of the navigation signal to the satellites, while also guaranteeing the quality of service provided to end users. From the main control room, it is possible to control the orbit of all the satellites in the constellation, managing a network of about 20 ground stations spread right around the globe. To ensure that the navigation and positioning system is working correctly, the GCC houses two ultra-accurate maser atomic clocks, which will set the time and the synchronisation of the entire constellation.



The Galileo Control Centre (GCC) in Oberpfaffenhofen built by DLR operates the Galileo Satellites. Preparatory operations for satellites to be launched and safe routine operations for the in-orbit satellite constellation are performed simultaneously. The experience gained goes directly into the high quality operational products and processes, which can be applied on all types of missions and operational services. For the purpose of Galileo satellite and ground asset operations, DLR GfR mbH has implemented highly sophisticated and extremely reliable technical infrastructures to satisfy availability requirements up to 99,9999%. In addition, highly secure infrastructures certified up to secret level are operated and maintained 24 hours a day / 365 days a year.


The two Galileo Control Centres in Italy and Germany represent the heart of the Galileo system, as they guarantee control of the constellation, the satellite localisation and navigation signal. Once fully operational, the GCCs will monitor the orbit of the Galileo satellites with an accuracy of less than 50 cm via the main control rooms and a dozen integrated control rooms manned 24 hours a day by highly skilled personnel. The centres will also generate, transmit and distribute the navigation signal, ensuring its integrity, quality and precision. If the system malfunctions, the end user will be notified within a matter of seconds. The clocks on board the satellites are continually updated to the time of the entire Galileo system from the control centres.


Working together with international partners for the continued successful development of Galileo.

Public authorities / Agencies
Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale InfrastrukturBerlin, Germany
Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und EnergieBerlin, Germany
CNESToulouse, France
European CommissionBrussels, Belgium
European Space Agency (ESA)Paris, France
ESOCDarmstadt, Germany
GSA European GNSS Supervisory AuthorityBrussels, Belgium
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V. (DLR)Cologne, Germany
Airbus Defence and SpaceOttobrunn, Germany
British Telecom (BT)Diegem, Belgium
DLR Gesellschaft für Raumfahrtanwendungen (GfR) mbHWeßling, Germany
SESChâteau de Betzdorf, Luxembourg
Telespazio S.p.A.Rome, Italy
T-Systems InternationalFrankfurt, Germany

Quality Management System

Spaceopal has implemented a Quality Management System, which is certified in accordance with ISO 9001 since 2011 and covering the full scope of our business activities such as:

Design and Implementation of Systems
Operations, Services and Networks for Space Programmes
Programme Management, Mission and Satellite Constellation Operation
Integrated Logistic Support
Data Processing and Service Provision

Code of Ethics

The aims of spaceopal are pursued with loyalty, seriousness, appreciation, honesty, competence, fairness, team spirit and transparency by all those who work in the Company, and with absolute respect for the basic legal principles of human rights as well as the applicable laws and regulations. spaceopal shall promote these principles as well as fair competition, which it deems to be in its own interest as well as in the interest of all the stakeholders.

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Code of Ethics

The activity described is carried out under a contract managed by ESA on behalf of the European Union of and funded by the European Union.
The views expressed herein can in no way be construed as reflecting the official opinion of the European Union and/ or of the European Space Agency.