Galileo Industries has won a contract from the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop the first version of the Galileo System Test Bed (GSTB-V1) for the European satellite navigation system. The €10-20 million ($9.8-19.6 million) contract is the first development deal awarded for Galileo, which the European Union is developing at a cost of €3 billion as a European equivalent to the US global positioning system.

The 30-satellite system is intended to be operational by 2008. The testbed will be delivered to the ESA at the end of next year for 30 months of testing, says Philippe Aucher, director of Alcatel Space's Galileo division. It will validate Galileo system concepts, including navigation processing algorithms and integrity solutions. GSTB-V1 will use the ground infrastructure of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System (EGNOS) - Europe's first satellite navigation system - to collect satellite data, evaluate available performance and determine performance criteria for Galileo.

Galileo Industries was established in 2000 by Alcatel Space of France, Alenia of Italy, Astrium of Germany and the UK, and a consortium of Spanish space and communication companies. It is seeking to be Galileo prime contractor.

Source: Flight International