Galileo Control Segment upgrade ready for next launch

A global ground network is essential to ensure the continued reliability of the time and positioning information embedded within the signals from orbit. – © ESA

A significant first for next month’s 11th Galileo launch: thanks to an upgrade of the world-spanning Galileo Control Segment, this will be the first launch where the satellites’ first steps into space will be overseen from an existing Galileo Control Centre, rather than requiring an external mission control site.

For all Galileo launches up until this one, the satellites’ post-liftoff ‘Launch and Early Operations Phase’ (LEOP) have been overseen from either ESA’s ESOC control centre in Darmstadt, Germany, or French space agency CNES’s site in Toulouse, France.

As well as increasing overall reliability and cybersecurity, this new upgrade also opens the way to significant expansion of the Galileo constellation, which at 26 satellites already equals Europe’s largest satellite constellation. This updated Galileo Control Segment (GCS) is designed to enable oversight of up to 38 satellites, harnessing state-of-the-art technology using the latest solutions on the market.