Testing ESA contract for QinetiQ

QinetiQ has signed a €7.3 million, four year contract, covering its contribution to the European ‘Galileo InReach’ Consortium for Phase CDE1 of the European Galileo system.

The Consortium, led by the Belgian company Septentrio Satellite Navigation (SSN), is contracted by the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop the Galileo second source Test User Segment (TUS). This will play a crucial role in the end-to-end evaluation and performance validation of the Galileo system during the In-Orbit Validation (IOV) phase.

The Consortium previously competitively bid, won and successfully completed the Phase C0 contract of the Galileo TUS. This addressed atmospheric propagation analysis, validation of the user requirements, receiver architecture design and specification for the test support tools (TST). Phase CDE1 was awarded by ESA as a follow on contract to build on these.

The main activities being led by QinetiQ include more comprehensive propagation analysis, security module development, and TST design, build and use. The ionospheric propagation analysis will be performed by the QinetiQ Centre for Propagation Analysis and Atmospheric Research (CPAR) and will theoretically validate the ESA expected performance.

Galileo security and integrity is provided through the Public Regulated Service (PRS), an encrypted signal to be used by government authorities for both civil and military purposes. The security module being developed by QinetiQ provides the PRS Test User Receiver with access to this additional classified functionality. Prior to delivery, the security module will be evaluated and certified by the UK national security authority to the ESA Galileo security requirements.

The TST being built by QinetiQ will be used for independent validation of the Test User Receivers (TUR) being developed by the Consortium.

“As one of only a few companies in Europe with the Government pedigree and capability to support the security module development and integration, QinetiQ is proud to contribute this critical element of Galileo,” said Richard Davis, MD of QinetiQ’s Comms Division. “Our independence from receiver manufacturers also makes us an ideal partner for the TUS validation to confirm this element of the Galileo system delivers the required performance.”

Galileo is Europe‘s global navigation satellite system, which will provide a wide range of user positioning services with high levels of quality and continuity. Galileo will be compatible with existing systems such as GPS and EGNOS, and is expected to be fully operational before the end of this decade with a constellation of 30 satellites. The ‘Galileo InReach’ Consortium is lead by the Belgian company Septentrio Satellite Navigation and includes QinetiQ, Delft University of Technology, Ursa Minor, Orban Microwave Products, Deimos and SkySoft.