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Galileo Ground Segment

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Title Galileo Ground Segment
Edited by GMV
Level Basic
Year of Publication 2011
Logo GMV.png

The GALILEO Ground Segment will comprise two control centers and a global network of transmitting and receiving stations.

The core of the GALILEO ground segment will be the two control centers (GCC). Each control centre will manage control functions supported by a dedicated Galileo Control System (GCS) and mission functions, supported by a dedicated Galileo Mission System (GMS). The GCS will handle spacecraft housekeeping and constellation maintenance while the GMS will handle navigation system control.[1]

Galileo Control System (GCS)

The Galileo Control System (GCS) is responsible for satellite constellation control and management of Galileo satellites. It provides the telemetry, telecommand and control function for the whole Galileo satellite constellation. Its functional elements are deployed within the Galileo Control Centers (GCC) and the five globally distributed Telemetry Tracking and Control (TT&C) stations. To manage this, the GCS will use a global network of nominally five TTC stations to communicate with each satellite on a scheme combining regular, scheduled contacts, long-term test campaigns and contingency contacts.[2]

A hybrid Communication Network interconnects the remote stations (ULS, GSS, and TT&C stations) with the GCC by different means of standard and special radio, wired data and voice communication links, assuring the communication between all the sites. The two Ground Control Centres (GCCs) constitute the core of the Ground Segment. There are two redundant elements located at Fucino (Italy) and Oberpfaffenhofen (Germany).

The TTC Stations will include 13-meter antennas operating in the 2 GHz Space Operations frequency bands. During normal operations, spread-spectrum modulation, similar to that used for Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System, TDRSS, and ARTEMIS data relay applications, will be used, to provide robust, interference free operation. However, when the navigation system of a satellite is not in operation (during launch and early orbit operations or during a contingency) use of the common standard TTC modulation will allow non-ESA TTC stations to be used.

Galileo Mission System (GMS)

GMS Fucino.JPG

The Galileo Mission System (GMS) is responsible for the determination and uplink of navigation data messages needed to provide the navigation and UTC time transfer service. For this purpose, it will use a global network of Galileo Sensor Stations (GSS) [3] to monitor the navigation signals of all satellites on a continuous basis, through a comprehensive communications network using commercial satellites as well as cable connections in which each link will be duplicated for redundancy. The prime element of the GSS is the Reference Receiver.[1]

The GMS communicates with the Galileo satellites through a global network of Mission Up-Link Stations (ULS), installed at five sites, each of which will host a number of 3-meter antennas. ULSs will operate in the 5 GHz Radionavigation Satellite (Earth-to-space) band.

The GMS will use the GSS network in two independent ways. The first is the Orbitography Determination and Time Synchronisation (OD&TS) function, which will provide batch processing every ten minutes of all the observations of all satellites over an extended period and calculates the precise orbit and clock offset of each satellite, including a forecast of predicted variations (SISA - Signal-in-Space Accuracy) valid for the next hours. The results of these computations for each satellite will be up-loaded into that satellite nominally every 100 minutes using a scheduled contact via a Mission Up-link Station[4].

The OD&TS operation thus monitors the long-term parameters due to gravitational, thermal, ageing and other degradations.

Control Centers Components

The Galileo Control Centers include components of the two Galileo segments, GCS and GMS.

The main GMS facilities are the following ones:

  • OSPF: Orbit determination and Synchronization Processing Facility, in charge of the determination of satellite navigation parameters, i.e., ephemeris computation, satellite clock prediction, and determination of the Signal-in-Space accuracy (SISA).
  • MGF: Message Generation Facility, which is the facility needed to multiplex all the messages either generated within the GCC or received by external entities, into a single data stream to be sent to each ULS in order to be uploaded to spacecrafts.
  • PTF: Precision Timing Facility, responsible for the generation of a physical realization of Galileo System Time (GST) which is provided to all elements for time synchronization purposes.
  • GACF: Ground Assets Control Facility, monitoring and controlling all the elements of the GMS in real time.
  • MUCF: Mission Uplink Control Facility, which is responsible for the on-line and off-line mission monitoring and control including the Galileo overall long-, mid- and short-term mission planning and uplink scheduling.
  • MSF: Mission Support Facility, used to the off-line support functions including the computation of configuration and calibration data for the real-time elements.
  • MTPF: Maintenance and Training Platform, which contains the instances of all elements and support equipment for maintenance and training purposes.
  • GMS KMF: GMS Key Management Facility, that supports security aspects and data protection (generation of encryption keys, encryption/decryption process,...).
  • SPF: Service Product Facility, which is dedicated to the implementation of the exchange gateway between the GCC and the external world.

The main GCS facilities are:

  • SCCF: Spacecraft & Constellation Control Facility, that performs the on-line monitoring and control of the satellites, both for routine and critical operations.
  • SCPF: Spacecraft & Constellation Planning Facility, which handles the problem of scheduling regular contact (once per orbit) with all satellites in the constellation to support routine operations and special extended contacts to support critical operations.
  • FDF: Flight Dynamics Facility, responsible for non-nominal orbit determination (GMS provides nominal) and maneuver planning.
  • OPF: Operations Preparation Facility, responsible for preparation and configuration control of all operational databases and procedures, including those that are destined for automated execution.
  • CMCF: Central Monitoring & Control Facility, that supports the monitoring and control of all GCS ground assets, including the TT&C stations, GCC resident facilities and networks.
  • GCS KMF: GCS Key Management Facility, that supports security aspects and data protection (generation of encryption keys, encryption/decryption process,...).
  • CSIM: Constellation Simulator, that is used for validation of operational process, training and anomalies investigation.



  1. ^ a b ESA Galileo web page
  2. ^ Galileo Mission High Level Definition, v3, September 2002.
  3. ^ Official Journal of the European Union of 23 of February 2012 (2012/117/EU), Annex 1, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2012:052:0028:0031:EN:PDF
  4. ^ Galileo System at ESA's Galileo web page