A significant milestone in the construction of Galileo – Europe’s satellite navigation system – was achieved Friday.
Two operational satellites were launched on 12 October at 18:15 UTC from Kourou, French Guiana, using a Soyuz launcher.
These two new satellites, named David and Sif1, have joined another pair of satellites that has been orbiting the Earth since October 2011. Together they form a mini-constellation of four satellites needed for Galileo’s validation and fine-tuning.
Following a detailed in-orbit check, by the end of 2014 a further 14 satellites will be deployed. This will enable to provide the very first services based on this cutting-edge EU infrastructure.
The new constellation will allow improved services ranging from more precise in-car navigation, effective road transport management, search and rescue services, more secure banking transactions as well as reliable electricity provision, which all rely heavily on satellite navigation technologies to work efficiently.
This market is currently valued at €124 billion and expected to increase to €250 billion by 2020. Galileo will provide EU business opportunities for a wide variety of applications in many sectors of the European economy, including electricity grids, fleet management companies.
European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, said, “We have taken another step toward completing the Galileo system for European citizens and businesses. There is a long way to go for a full system to be operational but we are confident we will deliver the most sophisticated satellite navigation system.”