Airbus Defence and Space

Space in daily life Press releases

Airbus Defence and Space Galileo satellites accepted by ESA

• First and second Airbus Defence and Space-built Galileo satellites successfully pass ESA’s technical acceptance review

• Two IOV satellites set to be launched on the first ever Soyuz flight from French Guiana

• The first IOV satellite arrived at the Guiana Space Centre on September 7th, 2011

Kourou, 12 September 2011 – The European Space Agency (ESA) has accepted the first and second Airbus Defence and Space-built Galileo In-Orbit Validation (IOV) satellites as part of their quality acceptance review. This step represents a major milestone in this important European flagship programme.

During this period, the first of four Airbus Defence and Space-built IOV satellite to form part of the Galileo constellation has also arrived at the European Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana ahead of its scheduled launch on a Soyuz launch vehicle in October.

The satellite was designed and manufactured by a team under the leadership of Airbus Defence and Space Germany, with Airbus Defence and Space UK overseeing the development and integration of the satellite’s state-of-the-art navigation payload. The satellite is the first of four IOV satellites that are being developed by Airbus Defence and Space for the Galileo system - Europe’s first global navigation satellite system that will provide a highly accurate, guaranteed global positioning service under civilian control.   

The satellite arrived in French Guiana on an Antonov An-124 airplane from Rome, where the spacecraft was assembled and tested by Thales Alenia Space Italy. The spacecraft will shortly be joined by the second Airbus Defence and Space-built IOV satellite before both will be launched on the first ever Soyuz flight from French Guiana in late October.

The first two spacecraft will be joined in orbit next year by the third and forth IOV satellites, which are also being developed under Airbus Defence and Space’s leadership. Once in orbit, these four satellites will validate the Galileo system design - Four satellites are the minimum required to provide positioning information.

Evert Dudok, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, said:

“The acceptance by our customer ESA and the arrival of the first IOV satellite in Kourou is a significant milestone in the development of the Galileo system with Airbus Defence and Space playing a leading role in the programme since its inception.

“Airbus Defence and Space’s teams in Kourou are now committed to ensuring that the first IOV satellites are readied for launch and will continue to work closely with our partners ESA and the European Union in ensuring the successful roll-out of the Galileo system.”

Along with overseeing the development of the Galileo IOV satellites, Airbus Defence and Space is significantly involved in the Galileo Ground Segment and System Support activities.

Airbus Defence and Space was recently awarded a €73.5 million contract by ESA on behalf of the EU to be the prime contractor for the Galileo Full Operational Capability Ground Control Segment.

The Ground Control Segment (GCS) contract covers the provision of GCS facilities for the operation of the Galileo constellation and will be led by an Airbus Defence and Space team out of the UK.

The definition phase and the development and In-Orbit Validation phase of the Galileo programme were carried out by the European Space Agency (ESA) and co-funded by ESA and the European Commission.

The Full Operational Capability phase of the Galileo programme is managed and fully funded by the European Commission. The Commission and ESA have signed a delegation agreement by which ESA acts as design and procurement agent on behalf of the Commission.



About Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space is the number one company in Europe for space technologies and a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services.

In 2010, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover of €5 billion and more than 15,000 employees worldwide, mainly in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Airbus Defence and Space for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Airbus Defence and Space for spacecraft and ground segment, and Airbus Defence and Space for comprehensive end-to-end solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security satellite communications equipment, bespoke geo-information and navigation services worldwide.

AIRBUS Group is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2010, the Group – comprising Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of € 45.8 billion and employed a workforce of nearly 122,000.



Press contacts:

Daniel Mosely (Airbus Defence and Space UK)                                                      Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 8180

Gregory Gavroy (Airbus Defence and Space FR)                                                    Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32

Ralph Heinrich (Airbus Defence and Space GER)                                                   Tel.: +49 (0) 89 607 33971

Francisco Lechón (Airbus Defence and Space SP)                                                 Tel.: +34 91 586 37 41