Contract signing gives Galileo system its operators

(PresseBox) ( Paris, )
A few swipes of the pen in Brussels yesterday forged the latest link in the chain of Europe's Galileo satellite navigation system. ESA signed a contract with Spaceopal, the company providing ground-based services needed to operate the Galileo constellation once it has been fully deployed.

The agreement on 25 October was signed by René Oosterlinck, ESA's Director of the Galileo Programme and Navigation-related activities, and by Francesco D'Amore and Hubertus Wanke, both Managing Directors of Spaceopal in the presence of Diego Canga Fano, Deputy Head of Cabinet to European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani.

Spaceopal is a joint undertaking between Italian company Telespazio and German firm Gesellschaft für Raumfahrtanwendungen (GfR) mbH, which has been set up by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) to provide operational services for the Galileo system.

The agreement is the fourth of six Galileo Work Packages (WPs) identified by the European Commission and ESA as necessary to reach Galileo's Full Operational Capability (FOC) to be signed. This WP6 Framework Contract is dedicated to preparation activities as well as all the operations services the fully-deployed Galileo system requires.

WP1 for system support, WP4 covering spacecraft and WP5 dedicated to launch services have already been signed in January 2010. Yesterday's agreement leaves only WP2, for ground mission, and WP3 covering ground control still to be finalised.

ESA, in its role as designated procurement agent on behalf of the European Union, followed a standard procurement procedure known as 'Competitive Dialogue', at the end of which Spaceopal provided ESA with its 'Best And Final Offer' (BAFO).

Such a BAFO, together with the specifications and requirements defined during the Competitive Dialogue, serve as the basis for the Framework Contract and its four Work Orders that were agreed at the same time.

WP6 Work Order 1 covers all activities related to the completion of the Galileo In Orbit Validation (IOV) activities - the first four Galileo satellites due to launch next year. WP6 Work Order 2 is dedicated to the implementation and activities of an integrated engineering team supporting ESA for system operations.

WP6 Work Order 3 deals with the completion of deployment of operations for Galileo's FOC, scheduled for 2013. WP6 Work Order 4 covers the full deployment of the two Galileo Ground Control Centres, in Germany at Oberpfaffenhofen and Italy at Fucino.
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