Spaceopal, a joint venture by DLR Gesellschaft für Raumfahrtanwendungen (GfR) mbH and Telespazio, a Leonardo and Thales Company, is the prime contractor for the operational services of Galileo, the satellite navigation program of the European Union, and is the world’s largest navigation satellite service operator.
As Service Operator of Galileo, Spaceopal is the key partner of European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (EUSPA), and provides best in class quality navigation services, enhancing position, and precise timing for users worldwide.
The entire Galileo constellation, composed by 30 satellites, and the GNSS services are managed through two satellite Control Centers (in Oberpfaffenhofen, Bavaria, Germany and in Fucino, Abruzzo, Italy), the GNSS Service Center in Torrejón de Ardoz (Spain), several mission-uplink stations and satellite control transmitting stations as well as a growing number of distributed sensor stations worldwide, dedicated to the monitoring the navigation signals.
In addition to its core activity, through the years Spaceopal has created, together with its shareholders, a technology framework dedicated to innovation, research and development for new solutions, applications and services. The aim of this so called tech lab is building a long-term view of all the opportunities in the GNSS sector and to create concrete paths of innovation.
- 2009: Spaceopal has been funded by DLR Gesellschaft für Raumfahrtanwendungen (GfR) mbH and Telespazio Spa
- November 2010: Spaceopal became the Prime Contractor responsible for Galileo operations under the Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) Operations Framework contract.
- 2016: Galileo Initial Service is available and Spaceopal is the player to enable the provision of first committed OS navigation services to users worldwide.
- July 1, 2017: after a 2-year long international competitive tender, ran by the European GNSS Agency (EUSPA), Spaceopal continues to operate the Galileo constellation, but with significantly enlarged scope and responsibilities under the Galileo Service Operator (GSOp) contract.
- In year of 2017 and 2018, a total of 8 additional Galileo’s satellites have been successfully delivered in orbit and inserted in the service constellation
- January 2018: Spaceopal commenced supporting the Galileo Second Generation (G2G) Ground Segment Design
- In October 2018, Spaceopal launched its NAVCAST Precise Point Positioning services worldwide, with gradually adding new service elements and applications to be offered to commercial and institutional customers
- December 2018: Spaceopal starts supporting the Galileo Transition Satellite (G2G) Space Segment Framework
- as of late 2018, Spaceopal enlarged its scope to become responsible for infrastructure upgrade and new remote site implementations worldwide
- Since February 2020, Spaceopal has been emerging the application of the Covid-19 business continuity plan covering all Galileo operational sites to sustain and guarantee continues Galileo services under the current pandemic situation
The Galileo Programme
Galileo is Europe’s own Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), providing a highly accurate, guaranteed global positioning service under civilian control. It is interoperable with GPS and Glonass, respectively 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 a total of 30 satellites – 26 operational satellites plus six in-orbit spares – positioned in three circular Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) planes at 23 222 km altitude above the Earth, at an inclination of the orbital planes of 56 degrees to the equator.
Initial Services is available since December 15th, 2016. The constellation is currently under depoloyment, new services are tested and made available.
Learn more about the Galileo ProgrammeGalileo
Core Business Activities
The core business activities of Spaceopal GmbH which assure Galileo operation include:
- Operations Management
- Operations Engineering and Preparation
- Maintenance and Operations (M&O)
- Galileo Service Provision (GSC)
- Launch and Early Operation Phase (LEOP)
- Galileo Data Dissemination Network (GDDN)
- Time Service Provision (TSP)
- Geodetic Reference Service Provision (GRSP)
- In-orbit Test (IOT) Services
- Integrated Logistics Services (ILS)
- Security Operations
»I am very proud and excited to cover this new role as Managing Director and CEO of Spaceopal. Bringing over 30 years of experience in the space industry, I’m strongly motived to continue the success of the past years, operating the Galileo satellite fleet under the Galileo Service Operator (GSOp) contract and ensuring the provision of the Galileo services to the worldwide community«
Marco Folino, Spaceopal Managing director and CEO
»Spaceopal together with our core team has been tasked by the EUSPA to be the Galileo Service Operator for the next decade. With more than 10 years of experience in operating the Galileo System we are delighted to take the necessary responsibility in providing continuous and reliable Galileo services to the worldwide user community. As one of the Managing Directors of Spaceopal I am proud to lead the company and support the teams in solving all upcoming complexities.«
André Bauerhin, Spaceopal Managing director and COO
Galileo is being operated by three centres – the Galileo Control Centre GCC-I in Fucino (built by Telespazio at its Fucino Space Centre near L’Aquila) and the Galileo Control Centre GCC-D in Oberpfaffenhofen (built by the German Aerospace Centre DLR) will jointly manage the 30 satellites, the ground assets and the operational activities of the Galileo European Navigation System, whereas the European GNSS Service Centre (GSC) in Torrejón de Ardoz (located in within the National Institute of Aerospace Technologies - INTA) will take care of the service side of the Galileo system towards the different user communities.
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.
Torrejón de Ardoz
The European GNSS Service Centre (GSC) is an integral part of the European GNSS infrastructure and provides the single interface between the Galileo system and the users of the Galileo Open Service (OS), and the Galileo Commercial Service (CS) for the provision of specific services beyond the Galileo Signal-In-Space (SIS) transmitted by the operational satellites. The GSC acts as an active means to engage in “in”- and “out” bound activities and it is conceived as a centre of expertise, knowledge sharing, custom performance assessment, information dissemination and support to the provision of value-added services enabled by the Galileo OS and CS core services.
The GSC is located in a fully secured environment in Madrid, Spain, within the National Institute of Aerospace Technologies (INTA) facilities at Torrejón de Ardoz, overseen by the Spanish Ministry of Defence. The agreement for the location of the Centre in Spain was signed in May 2011 by the European Commission (EC) and the Government of Spain, and it was published in the Official Journal of the European Union (in February 2012).
The three Centres in Italy, Germany, and Spain, guarantee the service and 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 several integrated control rooms manned 24 hours a day by certified personnel. The centres also generate, transmit and distribute the navigation signal, ensuring its integrity, quality and precision. If the system malfunctions, the end user 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|
|GSA European GNSS Agency||Prague, Czech Republic|
|Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V. (DLR)||Cologne, Germany|
|Telespazio S.p.A.||Rome, Italy|
|DLR Gesellschaft für Raumfahrtanwendungen (GfR) mbH||Weßling, Germany|
|SES||Château de Betzdorf, Luxembourg|
|T-Systems International||Frankfurt, Germany|
|Thales Alenia Space||Toulouse, France|
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.
The activity described in this presentation is carried out under a contract managed by EUSPA on behalf of the European Commission and funded by the European Union.