In early July, the European Union Agency for the Space Program (EUSPA) announced the upcoming upgrades of the Galileo GCS infrastructure in preparation for the next launch.
The new GCS V3.0 infrastructure has now been completely deployed in the Galileo Ground Control Center in Oberpfaffenhofen (Germany) and Fucino (Italy) and is being used to operate the Galileo Satellite Constellation, this occurring since early August. This is the result of years of hard work, ever since GMV was awarded the maintenance and upgrading of the Galileo GCS.
During this period, GMV, leading a large consortium of top European Space companies, has been able to steer the entire technical challenge through the COVID-19 pandemic that has marked nearly half of this time period to complete this success. The new GCS release includes upgrades to increase system capabilities, enhanced virtualization and obsolescence resolution, as well as operational improvements.
This represents a major step forward toward the Galileo FOC (Full Operational Capability), boosting the management capacity to 38 satellites. The new GCS offers state-of-the art-infrastructure and technology and also features improved reliability and security, including the most advanced techniques. The new Key Service is capable of supporting LEOP campaigns for the upcoming Galileo Satellite launches.
Since 2011, all of the Galileo LEOP campaigns have relied on external control centers (either ESOC or CNES) in coordination with the GCS; however, from now on, thanks to this new Galileo GCS V3.0, the LEOPs will be run directly from the Galileo Ground Control Segment. Special mention must go to the hard work, guidance and support provided by the European Space Agency (ESA) as Galileo System Design Authority and Technical Manager of the GCS contract and particularly the European Union Agency for Space Program, Contract Authority and ultimately responsible for Galileo Service Provision.
None of this work would have been possible without the ongoing day-to-day cooperation of the Galileo Operators (Space Opal), who have closely overseen the improved infrastructure and its operational validation. Particularly noteworthy, too, is the major effort needed to design, build, and deploy this release, coordinated under a strict and harmonized quality standard, masterminded by top experts.
The Full Operational Capability (FOC) phase of the Galileo program is managed and funded by the European Union. The European Commission, ESA and EUSPA (the EU Agency for the Space Program) have signed an agreement through which ESA acts as design authority and system development prime on behalf of the Commission and EUSPA as the exploitation and operation manager of Galileo/EGNOS.