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Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Satellites

European PNT Satellites (Galileo)


2018 – Galileo – Snapshot

In contrast to the PNT systems operated by other nations (except Japan), two European civil government organizations (the EU) and the ESA) share acquisition, management…

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2017 – Galileo – Snapshot

Europe’s expansion of its Galileo PNT constellation slowed a little during 2017, when nine clocks aboard some of the satellites failed. Clocks are critical to . . .

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2016 – Galileo – Snapshot

Europe continued launching Galileo satellites during 2016, enlarging its positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) constellation. Thanks to the launch of ## more Galileo satellites, the Europeans managed to grow their share of the total global operational PNT satellites by about ## percentage points for 2016 to ##%. Europe’s…

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2015 – Galileo – Snapshot

The European Union’s space-based PNT efforts began in 2005, making 2015 the tenth anniversary for its PNT efforts. Galileo, the European PNT satellite system, is scheduled to be complete by 2020. For 2014, Europe owned ##% of the total global operational PNT satellites in orbit that. During 2014, Europe had succeeded in launching ## Galileo PNT satellites. However, ## of the Galileo satellites were launched into an incorrect orbit in August 2014, effectively reducing the number of operational European PNT satellites orbiting the Earth in 2014 to ##.

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2014 – Galileo

The European Union’s Galileo constellation was scheduled to be operational in 2014, with ## satellites in use by the end of the year. Those plans had to be delayed when ## key Galileo satellites, Sat 5 and 6, were launched and then inserted into the wrong orbit in August 2014. Initially thought to be a lost cause, the Europeans proceeded in October 2014 on a plan to put Sat 5 in circular orbit, allowing the satellite to still be used for its navigation mission. Once the operators have confirmed the plan’s success with Sat 5, they will try implementing a similar plan for Sat 6.

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2013 – Galileo

A joint initiative between the European Commission (EC) and ESA, the Galileo constellation will consist of ## operational satellites in MEO. Europe launched ## in-orbit validation (IOV) spacecraft between 2011 and 2012 for positioning tests and technology validation. In November 2013, the IOV network enabled Galileo to successfully track a test aircraft flying over the Netherlands, the first time that the European agency has been able to track a moving aircraft using only the Galileo system. Initially, Galileo’s Open Service—freely accessibly PNT signals for mass-market devices such as smartphones and automobile navigation systems—is planned to be operational in 2014, although the launch of the first ## satellites has been delayed.

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2012 – Galileo

Europe also has made strides in developing its PNT system, Galileo. A joint initiative between the European Commission (EC) and ESA, the Galileo constellation will consist of ## operational satellites and ## in-orbit spares flying in MEO. The initial Galileo constellation is expected to be in place between 2014 and 2016. In October 2012, Europe launched the ## and ## Galileo in-orbit validation (IOV) satellites, joining ## more IOV satellites that were deployed one year earlier. Once activated, this ##-satellite validation fleet, built by Astrium, will demonstrate Galileo’s ability to provide highly precise, three-dimensional positioning.

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2011 – Galileo – Snapshot

The European Union (EU) is developing a PNT system called Galileo. The Galileo constellation will consist of ## operational satellites and three in-orbit spares. In October 2011, the first ## Galileo in-orbit validation (IOV) satellites were launched, and ## more IOV spacecraft were scheduled to launch by mid-2012. The initial Galileo constellation is expected to be in place between 2014 and 2016. However, financing may be a concern. The EU has already approved contracts for ## additional satellites with OHB of Germany, but the number of additional satellites that can be ordered depends in part on the European Commission’s calculation of exactly how much money remains in the seven-year budget, with the next budget commencing in 2014.

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2008 – Galileo

The European Union continues to develop the ##-satellite Galileo constellation, expected to be launched in 2010. Funding has been approved for the project, and in April 2008 the second GIOVE (Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element) test satellite was launched.  

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2007 – Galileo

Galileo, Europe’s proposed ##-satellite navigation constellation, reached a key funding agreement in 2007 when the European Council agreed to fund the project entirely though the European Union community budget. The hoped-for significant private-sector participation did not materialize. With these issues resolved the constellation could be operational as early as 2013.

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