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ExoLance
EU awards Galileo contracts
Posted: Fri, Jan 8, 2010, 7:00 AM ET (1200 GMT)
Galileo satellite illustration (OHB System) The European Union announced Thursday a series of contracts to build and launch the initial set of satellites for the Galileo navigation system. The biggest contract, valued at €566 million (US$810 million), went to OHB System and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. for the construction of 14 satellites. The OHB/SSTL team beat out a competing bid from Astrium and Thales Alenia Space, the two largest European satellite manufacturers; EADS owns both Astrium and SSTL. Arianespace received a €397 million (US$569 million) contract to launch 10 of the satellites, two at a time on five Soyuz rockets. Thales Alenia Space won a €85 million (US$122 million) contract for support services. The contracts are structured to begin satellite launches in 2012, with all the satellites launched by 2014 to permit initial operations of the satellite navigation system to begin. However, these initial contracts fall short of the 24 satellites needed for Galileo to provide navigation services globally. Three additional contracts, covering ground infrastructure and operations, will be awarded this summer.
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