Nowadays Spaceopal is a properly-established reality. How would you describe your corporation?

Marco Folino, Spaceopal CEO

Spaceopal is a joint venture involving Telespazio and DLR-GfR. Founded in 2010, it is the prime contractor for the operational solutions of the European Satellite Navigation Technique Galileo and, thus, is 1 of the biggest satellite service operators in the globe. Nowadays we operate and sustain, with complete finish to finish duty, the Galileo Technique offering navigation solutions, enhancing position, and precise timing for much more than three billion customers worldwide.

Galileo, these days, is regarded as the finest navigation method in the globe enabling customers to know their precise position with higher precision compared to what is offered by other accessible systems. What are the components behind this good results story?

I believe there are numerous. Initially, the clear and firm strategic choice created at European level numerous years ago. Essential is also the help, commitment and level of funding offered by the member states across the complete plan lifecycle. And naturally cooperation and partnership amongst Institutions (EC, ESA, EUSPA) and industries, was a different significant issue, major to have a properly-created and technologies driven method and to a contractual scheme entrusted for service to the operator, Spaceopal, possessing the finish-to-finish responsibilities of our solutions. Such method proved to be exceptionally strong and resilient, particularly for the duration of the final couple of years exactly where, regardless of the COVID pandemic and the international crisis, the Galileo navigation performances and connected user skilled solutions had been not impacted or degraded at all.

Do you believe it could be a model for the future?

Yes. Primarily based on the extraordinary final results accomplished so far, I truly think this method must be regarded as as a finest practice in managing complicated vital European Infrastructures even offering additional positive aspects when applied to the future Galileo evolutions and in unique to the upcoming second generation and other EC programmes to come.

Spaceopal is a 360 degrees service operator and requires aspect in all the stages of the lifecycle of the method, with proactive roles also in the engineering and evolution of the method itself. 

Galileo is “easy” for customers. Most of them do not even know it is in their telephone and assistance them each day. But all this comes from a massive complexity and you, as Spaceopal, are the folks managing it. Could you inform us much more?

To give an notion of the complexity of the Galileo method, let look at we have an infrastructure composed by 28 Satellites in orbit, two Handle Centers (Fucino in Italy and Oberpfaffenhofen in Germany), 1 Service Center in Madrid (Spain) and numerous remote internet sites distributed worldwide to serve much more than three billion customers worldwide. Hundreds of extremely skilled and skilled employees are involved, thousands of operational procedures have been created and implemented, certain Small business and Service Continuity Plans have been created, and are in force not only to execute the nominal operations but also to cope with not nominal ones mitigating the connected dangers and making sure the continuity and the high quality of the service as required.

Galileo Higher Accuracy Service is on its way. What is it and what new possibilities will it permit?

Higher-accuracy signifies unique precision of the positioning solutions: a generic statement that we can instantiate concretely by adding the notion that Galileo Higher Accuracy Solutions (HAS)  allow customers to obtain sub-decimetre level position­ing accuracy and an order enhanced timing accuracies necessary by skilled applications such as precision farming, surveying as properly as some emerging applications like autonomous driving and drones.

The status of HA in Europe is these days at the “Initial Services” considering that finish of January 2023.  Apart of European Initiative, Spaceopal pursues complementarily its NAVCAST service, offering finest correction information and tuned receiver solutions and applications for the unique market place applications. By the subsequent months the NAVCAST method and its infrastructure will continue to develop with the viewpoint to  provide even additional enhanced functionality thanks to the reference station network and ionospheric/atmospheric corrections is currently beneath improvement to help PPP RTK options.  It signifies that all the described application domains will count on a truly significant step ahead of our NAVCAST service.

As Navigation Service Operator, what is the contribution of Spaceopal?

Spaceopal is a 360 degrees service operator and requires aspect in all the stages of the lifecycle of the method, with proactive roles also in the engineering and evolution of the method itself.  In this sense, our contribute has been considering that the notion of the HA and its realization, to assure complete help for the duration of the infrastructure realization and making sure service continuity for the duration of the transitions. In the course of the entire period we have been also proposing improvements and took aspect to engineering boards, supplying our practical experience of operator and our visibility of the processes, to implement strong pillars for a steady and trustable higher accuracy service. It worth to mention that Spaceopal has been tasked by the EUSPA to create the reference PPP algorithm for the Galileo Higher Accuracy Service as properly as the initial completely validated user terminals offering extraordinary performances.

What is your notion of innovation and what regions are you focusing on in the close to future?

The investments paid on such a complicated and huge method such it is a International Navigation Satellite Technique (GNSS), could make an individual believe about its somewhat steady and definite deployment and a consequent marginal of slow evolution, in comparison with other space systems. It is specifically the opposite case. A GNSS method is frequently and quickly evolving.

Firms with a major function in this domain, such as Spaceopal, have to have to have extremely clear this notion to stay influent and reputable stakeholder. For this cause Spaceopal is committed to GNSS innovation, study and improvement on unique elements of the domain, which includes downstream applications and to migrate these into genuine solutions and solutions.

Just after the ESA Ministerial that just passed, what are the European scenarios in which you really feel you can compete?

Our corporation has the privilege to be 1 of the most important stakeholder about the European institutions, supplying significant industrial contribution to the Galileo Programme.  We have earned a outstanding and formidable viewpoint of the method behavior playing the function we inherit and beyond. With the strength of the matured practical experience and with the help of our shareholders, I believe we can state that these days we can play significant roles also in other aspect of the project in view of the transition to the Second Generation of the method as properly as in future navigation: engineering, infrastructure and operations.

By Editor

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