The GSA’s mission is to support European Union objectives and achieve the highest return on European GNSS investment, in terms of benefits to users and economic growth and competitiveness.
In support of this mission, the GSA provides a diverse array of services, including Galileo, EGNOS, Security, Research and Development and 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. Europe launched its initial telecommunications satellite in 1993. Six years later the European Commission declared that EGNOS' basic navigation signal was operationally ready as an open and free service. Since then, EGNOS has been successfully making existing satellite navigation signals (GPS, GLONASS) suitable for such safety critical applications as aviation and navigating ships through narrow channels.
Now fully in the exploitation phase, EGNOS is delivering benefits to European citizens across numerous sectors. It accomplishes this by increasing the accuracy of existing satellite positioning signals, while also providing a crucial ‘integrity message' that informs users in the event of signal problems. To illustrate, someone using a GPS receiver that is not EGNOS enabled can only be sure of their position within 17 metres, while an EGNOS enabled receiver will provide a position with an accuracy level of two meters.
The European Union has delegated the task of managing EGNOS exploitation activities to the GSA. In this role, the GSA oversees all activities relating to the EGNOS service provision, including monitoring the quality of the service being provided to European citizens, defining new services and coordinating the development of Satellite-Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS) with international partners. The GSA is also heavily involved in expanding the use of EGNOS beyond its original core of aviation to other high potential user sectors, including rail, maritime, agriculture, surveying, road, location based services, and timing & synchronisation. It is also charged with leading the procurement of the next generation of the EGNOS infrastructure (EGNOS Version 3).
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
In addition to this service provision, the GSA also actively supports the creation of a competitive European offering of products and applications based on the Galileo and EGNOS services. For example, the GSA launched its Fundamental Elements programme, an R&D funding mechanism supporting the development of chipsets and receivers. The programme will run through 2020 and has a projected budget of EUR 100 million. The main objective of the initiative is to facilitate the development of applications across different sectors of the economy and promote the development of such fundamental elements as Galileo-enabled chipsets and receivers.
Fundamental Elements is in addition to, and complements, the EU’s Horizon 2020 research program, which aims to foster adoption of Galileo via content and application development and thus focuses on the integration of services provided by Galileo into devices and their commercialisation. An estimated €25M is expected to be invested in applications related to the Galileo Open Service, with a further €7M being invested in Galileo awareness raising and capacity building.
Furthermore, the GSA regularly sponsors various contests and prizes, including the Farming by Satellite Prize and the European Satellite Navigation Competition GSA Special Prize, to name only a few.
Contribution to the EU Market
As highlighted in such GSA produced research as its Market Report and GNSS User Technology Report, among others, the market for satellite navigation services has been growing steadily and is expected to be worth EUR 250 billion per year by 2022. Today, around 6-7% of the EU economy is dependent on the availability of global navigation satellite signals. Independent studies show that Galileo will deliver around EUR 90 billion to the EU economy over the first 20 years of operation. This includes direct revenue for the space, receivers, and applications industries, and indirect revenue for society such as more effective transport systems and more effective rescue operations.
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. To this the vast opportunities for the development ofservices using navigation satellite signals should be added, a development that is largely led by SMEs creating a wide variety of applications for the growing global app community.
Innovation also plays a key role in the future economic growth and sustainability of the European Union – and here European GNSS offers huge potential for the EU, with growing demand in a number of different sectors: LBS, transport, surveying, agriculture, timing and synchronisation.