Galileo's terrestrial nerve center in Fucino, Italy, 130 km east of Rome, formally entered service in December. With the first Galileo satellites due to be launched in August 2011, the Fucino Galileo Control Centre will oversee the running of all navigation services provided by Europe's global satellite system.
Fucino is one of two Galileo Control Centers –
alongside Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich in Germany – to monitor and
control the Galileo satellites and ground stations and provide all the
information products needed to support the Galileo navigation services. The twin
control centers sit at the heart of Galileo’s far-flung network of satellites
and ground stations distributed worldwide. They have split responsibilities;
however, with Galileo set to operate continuously, they are fully redundant,
meaning that one can step in for the other in case of need.
In the initial phase, while the Oberpfaffenhofen center is in charge
of controlling the satellites in space, Fucino holds responsibility for
the overall navigation mission. Fucino will process the collected data
and generate, transmit and distribute navigation products through uplink
stations connected to the satellites to broadcast signals to users.
The Fucino center will also keep the clocks on board the individual
Galileo satellites synchronized with the time of the overall Galileo
Galileo’s Fucino control center is located on the site of one of the
largest satellite communication stations in the world. Opened in 1963 and
hosting more than 90 antennas on 370 000 sq m, the station is used
by Inmarsat and many other commercial satellite companies.
Fucino is also employed by a number of ESA space missions and
serves as the control center for the GIOVE-B prototype Galileo
Like its German equivalent, the Fucino control center will be
operated by Spaceopal, which is a 50/50 joint venture
and Gesellschaft für Raumfahrtanwendungen (GfR)
mbH, a firm set up by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) to provide
operational services for the Galileo system.
Additional information is available from the
European Space Agency.
Galileo's Navigation Control Hub Opens in Fucino
January 5, 2011