The GSA’s mission is to link space to user needs and to achieve the highest return on European GNSS investment in terms of benefits to users and EU economic growth and competitiveness.
To achieve this, the GSA manages the Galileo and EGNOS programmes and carries out work in various areas targeted at Security, Research and Development and increasing space’s Contribution to the EU Market.
The Galileo programme is currently in the deployment phase, with Initial Services expected to be declared in late 2016 and a fully operational system following by 2020. Galileo is financed by the EU, with non-EU members Norway and Switzerland contributing through international agreements.The Open Service will be Galileo’s flagship service, identified as the primary service provided by the GSA, on behalf of the EU, to the global public. Not only will the GSA lead the operations of the Galileo system, it will, along with the ESA, develop future generations. More so, the GSA will ensure the Open Service is widely adopted by users and fulfils the growing demand for accurate and reliable navigation in both the professional and mass markets.
In addition to the Open Service, the GSA will also oversee the Galileo Search and Rescue Service (SAR), Commercial Service and Public Regulated Service (PRS). Galileo’s SAR service will provide a fundamental contribution to the SAR service provided worldwide by COSPAS-SARSAT (C/S) through the MEOSAR programme. The Galileo Commercial Service, on the other hand, is dedicated to high precision applications and will provide the first ever GNSS spreading code encryption for purely civil purposes, while the PRS will offer the most available and robust Galileo service to authorised entities for use in government applications.
The GSA’s role will grow considerably in the exploitation phase, starting with the declaration of Initial Services, as it becomes the day-to-day interface with the ESA on a range of areas, including infrastructure roll-out and maintenance. Starting in 2017, the GSA will also procure the system’s main operations and will operate such key service facilities as the Galileo Security Monitoring Centre (GSMC) in France and in Spain, the European GNSS Service Centre (GSC) in Spain, and the Galileo Reference Centre (GRC) in the Netherlands.
Within this role, the GSA’s service goals for Galileo by 2020 include:
- Maximising adoption across user market segments and fostering EU economic and industrial benefits
- Positioning Galileo as the second GNSS constellation of choice in multi-GNSS receivers that integrate different constellations and are already today a leading market choice
- Making the Public Regulated Service (PRS) the service of choice for all authorised users, providing the same high level of availability and robustness otherwise only available from military-based GNSS systems (GPS, GLONASS, Beidou)
- Positioning Galileo as the first constellation of choice in Search and Rescue beacons
The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) is Europe’s first GNSS success story. In 2009, EGNOS Open Service has been declared operational. Since then, EGNOS has been successfully augmenting satellite navigation signals (GPS, GLONASS), enabling their use in safety-critical applications such as civil aviation. The Safety of Life service has been declared operational in 2011.
EGNOS increases the accuracy of satellite positioning signals and provides a crucial ‘integrity message' that informs users in the event of signal problems. EGNOS is essential for applications where accuracy and integrity are critical. On the top of the aviation sector, EGNOS improves and extends the scope of GNSS applications in numerous market segments, including road, rail, maritime, surveying and mapping, location-based services and agriculture.
The next generation of EGNOS – EGNOS V3 – is currently being developed. EGNOS V3 will improve the robustness and performance of the current EGNOS services, including a second signal, and will augment Galileo in addition to GPS. Its progressive entry into service is foreseen to start in 2024.
In order to ensure that these GNSS services are secure, the GSA handles a range of matters relating to the security of GNSS systems, including operating the Galileo Security Monitoring Centre (GSMC), ensuring the functioning of the Security Accreditation Board of the EU GNSS systems, securing the Galileo Public Regulated Service and developing the PRS user segment. As a result of these security initiatives, the GSA is increasing the confidence with which it provides its services to all end users in a secure, resilient and reliable manner.
Research & Development
The GSA also actively supports the development of innovative European products and applications based on Galileo and EGNOS services. Under a Delegation Agreement with the European Commission, the GSA manages Horizon 2020 projects coming from the calls for Applications in Satellite Navigation, part of the programme’s Space Theme. These projects develop innovative solutions that demonstrate the clear advantage of using Galileo and EGNOS, along with concrete applications for location-based services (LBS), road, aviation, rail, maritime, agriculture, surveying and mapping, and timing and synchronisation. The first four Horizon 2020 calls have already provided innovators with more than EUR 121 million in funding, and the 5th call, open from October 2019 to March 2020, will make an additional EUR 21 million available to support EGNSS innovation.
The Agency also funds GNSS-based innovation through its Fundamental Elements programme, an R&D funding mechanism supporting the development of chipsets and receivers. Fundamental Elements projects are part of the GSA’s overall strategy for European GNSS market uptake. The programme, which has a total budget of EUR 111.5 million for projects in 2015-2020, aims to facilitate the adoption of EGNSS, building on the innovative services and differentiators of EGNSS and addressing user needs in priority market segments. In so doing, it will improve the competitiveness of EU industry and maximise benefits to European citizens.
The GSA also regularly sponsors various contests and prizes that leverage Galileo and EGNOS to develop innovative solutions, including the MyGalileoApp hackathon, the Galileo Innovation Challenge, the Galileo Masters, and the Farming by Satellite Prize, to name only a few.
Contribution to the EU Market
The global GNSS downstream market continues to grow rapidly and, according to the latest GSA GNSS Market Report, the installed base of GNSS devices in use in 2019 was forecast to reach almost 6.5 billion, while global GNSS downstream market revenues from devices and services were set to reach EUR 150 billion. Of the 1.7 billion GNSS shipped units in 2019, more than 40% were Galileo-enabled, a remarkable result for European GNSS programme. The global GNSS downstream market revenues from both devices and services will grow from EUR 150 billion in 2019 to EUR 325 billion in 2029 and European companies account for approximately 27% of the overall global GNSS market.
The development of Galileo and EGNOS affects industries far beyond what we normally tend to think of as ‘space based’. The downstream industry for GNSS includes component manufacturers that produce everything from receivers, chipsets, antennas and safety beacons. It includes system integrators that integrate GNSS capability into larger products, such as vehicles and consumer electronics. It also includes value-added service providers that improve access to and use of GNSS, including map providers and augmentation service providers. Europe is in second position among GNSS augmentation and added-value service providers, accounting for 31% of the global market in 2017 (compared to 22% in 2007), following North America, which has 49%. These opportunities for the development of services using navigation satellite signals are eagerly seized by start-ups and SMEs, which create a wide variety of applications for the growing global app community.
Innovation also plays a key role in driving economic growth and sustainability in the European Union. In this context, European GNSS offers huge potential for the EU, as an engine of innovative growth in a number of different sectors: LBS, transport, surveying, agriculture, and timing and synchronisation.