London, 14 Dec 2005
Inmarsat to run Galileo's network operations arm
Inmarsat will play a key role in one of Europe's largest industrial projects, the construction of a global satellite navigation system for the 21st century.
A consortium of eight leading aerospace companies and satellite operators, including Inmarsat, Aena, Alcatel, EADS Space Services, Finmeccanica, Hispasat, Thales and TeleOp, have signed up to help develop Galileo, the European equivalent to the US's Global Positioning System (GPS).
The European Union project will be a joint venture between the public and private sectors.
The consortium, which will now be known as the Galileo Operating Company (GOC), has approved Inmarsat to take overall management leadership of the Galileo Operations Company (OpCo), the arm of the business that will look after global network operations, including performance monitoring and operations security. OpCo will be based in the UK.
GPS is currently the technology behind in-car satellite navigation systems, hand-held mountaineering gadgets and a range of business applications, such as fleet tracking and management, which depend on pinpointing your location anywhere in the world.
Galileo will be made up of a global network of about 30 satellites, with an array of monitoring and information stations, including control centres in Germany and Italy.
Value for money
Patrick McDougal, director for the Galileo project at Inmarsat, said: "We are delighted to play such a central role in Galileo.
"We have been an active participant in the process to develop a privately-backed solution for Galileo implementation, with a strong focus on value for money.
"We have been determined to apply to Galileo many of the experiences and efficiencies we have learned in 25 years of successful global satellite operations.
"This agreement validates our involvement and ensures that we will continue to play an important role in this exciting project," he added.