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GMV: Galileo Ground Control Segment Business Unit

Mónica Jiménez, section head at GMV’s Galileo Ground Control Segment Business Unit
Mónica Jiménez, section head at GMV’s Galileo Ground Control Segment Business Unit

My name is Mónica Jiménez. I studied computer engineering in Madrid and I have been working on GMV for 13 years until now. Since I finished my degree, I have been working as a developer in Flight Dynamics unit. At the end of 2018, I joined Galileo GCS project as the manager of the Segment Development team.

The Galileo’s Ground Control Segment (GCS) is responsible for monitoring all Galileo constellation satellites and includes all the necessary components for this purpose. The GCS comprises the main operations center, based in Oberpfaffenhofen (Germany), plus a backup center in Fucino (Italy), as well as the various monitoring stations spread throughout the world.

In 2018, GMV was awarded the maintenance, development and upgrading of the GCS. During these 3 years, I lead my team to develop a set of services and tools allocated to improve the user experience of the operators as well as enhance the security of the system. However, our biggest accomplishment has been to stablish the infrastructure required to automate the deployment of all the software of the Control Center. Such improvements enabled GMV to perform a seamless and quick deployment under a very complex and operational infrastructure.

In early July these years of hard work bore fruit and the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) announced the upcoming upgrades of the Galileo GCS infrastructure in preparation for the next launch.

GMV achieves the most ambitious upgrading of any part of the Galileo Ground Segment, being able to steer the whole technical challenge through the stormy waters of the COVID-19 pandemic that has marked nearly half of this period. Today the new GCS V3.0 infrastructure has been completely deployed in the Galileo Ground Control Centres in Oberpfaffenhofen and Fucino and is being used to operate the Galileo Satellite Constellation since early August.

The new GCS release includes upgradings to increase system capabilities, enhance virtualization and obsolescence resolution as well as operational improvements. It represents a major step forward towards the Galileo FOC (Full Operational Capability), boosting the management capacity to 38 satellites.

The new GCS not only offers state-of-the art-infrastructure and technology, but it also features improved reliability and security, including the most advanced techniques. Nor does it stop there:  the New Key Service is capable of supporting LEOP campaigns for the new coming Galileo Satellite Launches. Since 2011 all the Galileo LEOP campaigns have relied on external control centers (either ESOC or CNES) in coordination with the GCS, but, from now on, thanks to this new Galileo GCS V3.0, the LEOPs will be run directly from Galileo Ground Control Segment.

Special mention here must go to the hard work, guidance and support provided by the European Space Agency (ESA) as Galileo System Design Authority and Technical Manager of the GCS contract and particularly the European Union Agency for Space Programme, Contract Authority and ultimately responsible for Galileo Service Provision.

None of this work would have been possible without the ongoing day-to-day cooperation with the Galileo Operators (Space Opal), who have closely overviewed the improved infrastructure and its operational validation. Particularly noteworthy too is the major effort that has been needed to design, build and deploy this release, coordinated under a strict and harmonized quality standard masterminded by top experts.

The Full Operational Capability (FOC) phase of the Galileo programme is managed and funded by the European Union. The European Commission, ESA and EUSPA (the EU Agency for the Space Programme) have signed an agreement by which ESA acts as design authority and system development prime on behalf of the Commission and EUSPA as the exploitation and operation manager of Galileo/EGNOS.

GMV joined WIA-E as a silver corporate sponsor in February 2021.

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