Satellite Market to Foresee Boom With the EU’s Huge Investment in Highly Advanced Next-Generation Galileo Satellites

Posted On February 17, 2021     

Satellite Navigation System, also known as a Satnav System is a technology that makes use of satellites to autonomously determine geospatial positioning. It pins points on a location through small electronic receivers, determining the longitude, latitude, and altitude/elevation of the place. The system uses time signals transmitted within a line of sight from radio satellites and is extremely precise, with the result having the difference between few centimeters to meters in comparison with reality.

The United States unveiled its Satellite Navigation System in the year 1973. It was titled GPS (Global Positioning System), which is a satellite-based radio-navigation system that provides one to locate anything in any part of the world.

As a substantial development in the Satellite Market, Europe is now set to bring out its version of the US’s GPS. This will enable users to have choices between two services to identify their location on the planet with an inaccuracy of only a meter or so. The system is also useful for several infrastructure applications.

The European Union has tendered industrial contracts amounting to €1.47bn for building the next generation Galileo Satellites. The venture is to be taken up by two big space technology manufacturers, namely Thales Alenia Space and Airbus. Each company is set to make six spacecraft, each of which will contribute to the Global Navigation Satellite System. The first of them would most likely go into orbit by the year 2024.

Currently, Galileo has 24 spacecraft operating inside the orbit, and 12 first-generation models are at various stages of assembly and waiting to get launched. With the new order, the system will be able to incorporate new technologies resulting in better strength and accuracy in the signals that are beamed down to the Earth. These technologies consist of inter-satellite links, propulsion systems that use electric engines, digitally configurable antennas, and new atomic clocks.

TAS and Airbus were responsible for building four “pathfinder” (In-Orbit Validation) satellites, which successfully demonstrated the usefulness of Galileo in the year 2011-12. However, the companies lost their position to the consortium consisting of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (UK) and OHB-System (Germany). With the recent event of Brexit, the consortium is yet again broken due to Britain acquiring third country status. Hence, the country's firms can no longer be given tenders of sensitive security programs of the EU. The European Union has further revealed a considerable amount of budget for Galileo’s sister programme, “Egnos.” 

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