Following a lengthy and complex tendering process that started in January 2015, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) awarded the Galileo Service Operator (GSOp) contract, with a value of up to EUR 1.5 billion, to Spaceopal at a special event in Brussels. Spaceopal is a joint venture between the German Aerospace Agency (DLR) and Italy’s Telespazio.
“With its emphasis on service performance, this contract will shape the future of Galileo,” says GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides. “We look forward to building a strong partnership with Spaceopal as Galileo moves towards full operational capability under the responsibility of the GSA from January 2017.”
Specifically, under GSA management, the contract awarded to Spaceopal includes:
- Secure operations of Galileo from two mission control centres (GCC), located in Germany and Italy, and the European GNSS Service Centre (GSC) for user support services in Spain;
- Management of the Galileo Data Distribution Network (GDDN);
- Integrated logistics support and maintenance for the entire space and ground infrastructure;
- Monitoring of the system performance;
- Support the completion of the Galileo infrastructure and associated launches.
The GSOp contract marks the official transition of Galileo from a testing phase to a system in service. To ensure a balance between ongoing deployment needs and the priority of the service provision, the contract includes clear and tangible performance indicators (KPIs).
Spaceopal served as the contractor for Galileo operations since 2010 under the Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) Operations Framework Contract. The company will carry out these activities through the two control Galileo Centres in Fucino (at Telespazio’s “Piero Fanti” Space Centre in the L’Aquila province) and Oberpfaffenhofen (at the DLR site near Munich), as well as the GNSS Service Centre (Madrid) and a network of sites and stations distributed around the globe and connected by the Galileo Data Distribution network.
“Spaceopal is committed to continuing to support the deployment and completion of the Galileo system,” says Spaceopal CEO Giuseppe Lenzo. “We are proud that the GSA has selected us to further contribute by bringing the Galileo signal in space to users and providing best-in-class satellite navigation services.”
According to des Dorides, Galileo will now go through three key phrases: commitment, partnership and service delivery. “I look forward to working with the Spaceopal to address the real challenge of translating Galileo’s signal in space into tangible services that will improve the lives of all EU citizens,” he says. “The centre of gravity of the programme is now the user.”
The contract was signed by Carlo des Dorides, on behalf of the GSA, and for Spaceopal by Giuseppe Lenzo and Simon Plum, the company’s COO, at an official ceremony in Brussels on 15 December. The ceremony was featured in an event organised on the occasion of the European Commission’s Declaration of Galileo Initial Services.