The Member States of the European Union have agreed to relocate the Galileo Security Monitoring Center (GSMC) to Spain after Brexit. To house the GSMC, Spain offered a number of installations at the National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA) in the Region of Madrid, which is managed under the Ministry of Defense.
Galileo is the European satellite navigation system that is currently under development. It is already offering a set of initial services and will guarantee highly precise positioning data given that, due to the use of two frequencies, it will provide any user with sub-metric precision in real time. Global navigation satellite systems – also known as GNSS – are of a strategic nature for the economy and defense of countries.
This is a civil program that is fully compatible with the other two systems currently deployed: GPS and GLONASS. It will also guarantee availability of service even under the most severe conditions and will inform users of any constellation anomaly within a matter of seconds. It will therefore be highly suited to such critical applications as highway guidance, railway control and aircraft landing.
The GSMC is a critical infrastructure operated by the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA), which oversees and acts on security threats, alerts and the operational status of the components making up the Galileo system.
The Galileo system consists of space infrastructures (satellites) and terrestrial infrastructures. The Galileo Security Monitoring Centers (GSMC) are an integral and critical part of the terrestrial infrastructure. Two such centers currently exist – one located in the outskirts of Paris and another in the United Kingdom, which acts as a back-up.
The Brexit scenario means that the center in the United Kingdom needs to be relocated to a country within the European Union (EU 27) as from March 2019, at which time it must be fully operational. To that end, the European Commission conducted a selection process with the Member States expressing an interest, with the Spanish bid eventually being chosen.
This center will strengthen the Spanish contribution to and involvement in one of the star programs of the European Union.
Hosting the GSMC is an opportunity for Spain to provide advantages of a strategic nature, position itself within the program, support Spanish industrial involvement in high technological and development value contracts, and consolidate national knowledge and technology in the field of security.
Spain is also home to another of the fundamental centers for this program: the Loyola de Palacio GNSS Services Center (GSC), which is also located at the INTA installations in the Region of Madrid. This center is the single interface for all user communities of the open services, commercial services and global integrity service of Galileo. Placing the services center in Madrid, which will be created as an economic and technological hub, was also a major achievement for Spain.