Galileo: October Take off for EU SatellitesBy European Commission, PRNE
Monday, May 23, 2011
BRUSSELS, May 24, 2011 -
The launch of the first two operational satellites of the EU's global
navigation satellite system will take place on 20th October, the European
Commission announced today. This is just the first of a series of launches
due to take off from Europe's Space Port in Kourou, French Guiana. The launch
of the Galileo satellites at an altitude of 23.600km will lead to the
provision of initial satellite navigation services in 2014. Successive
launches will complete the constellation by 2019.
Antonio Tajani, European Commission Vice-President in charge of Industry
and Entrepreneurship, said: "This launch is of historical importance. Europe
is demonstrating that it has the capability to be at the forefront of
technological innovation. Thousands of SMEs and innovators across Europe will
be able to spot business opportunities and to create and develop their
products based on the future Galileo infrastructure. Citizen will benefits
from its services. Galileo is value for money and I count on Members States'
cooperation to find a solution for its financing."
The Galileo programme is the EU's initiative for a state-of-the-art
global satellite navigation system, providing a highly accurate, guaranteed
global positioning service under civilian control. The decision to fix the
date of the first launch follows a detailed assessment review under the
chairmanship of the European Space Agency. It concluded that the space and
ground segment components as well as operational preparedness are progressing
according to schedule.
Galileo will underpin many sectors of the European economy through its
services: electricity grids, fleet management companies, financial
transactions, shipping industry, rescue operations, peace-keeping missions,
all depend heavily on satellite navigation technology.
In addition, Galileo will make Europe independent in a technology that is
becoming critical, including for strategic areas such as electricity
distribution and telecommunication networks. Galileo is expected to deliver
EUR60 billion to the European economy over a period of 20 years in terms of
additional revenues for the industry and in terms of public and social
benefits, not counting the benefit of independence.
Galileo will provide three early services in 2014/2015 based on an
initial constellation of 18 satellites: an initial Open Service, an initial
Public Regulated Service (
and an initial Search-and-Rescue
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.
EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) is Europe's
regional augmentation system for GPS signals. It is the precursor to Galileo.
The EGNOS open service is operational since October 2009, and the Commission
recently launched the EGNOS "Safety-of-Life" service for aviation See
For more information about Galileo, please visit
(Due to the length of these URLs, it may be necessary to copy and paste
the hyperlinks into your Internet browser's URL address field. Remove the
space if one exists.)
Andrea Maresi, andrea.maresi at ec.europa.eu, +32-2-299-04-03
Tags: belgium, Brussels, European Commission, May 24