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RUAG Space will continue to build the brain of each Galileo satellite

(11 December 2017 - RUAG Space) Shortly before the next Galileo launch on 12 December, OHB System AG commissioned RUAG to continue supplying the Control and Data Units for the next 12 satellites in the Galileo program.

RUAG has been part of the Galileo program, supplying electronics and mechanical products, since day one.

On 12 December, four additional Galileo satellites will be launched from Kourou in French Guiana, aboard an Ariane 5 rocket. These are all carrying a Control and Data Unit from RUAG Space, as well as further electronics and mechanical products – designed and manufactured at sites in Sweden, Switzerland and Austria.

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Galileo satellite (courtesy: ESA – P, Carril)

Delivery as of November 2018

OHB System AG, which is the prime contractor for the Galileo satellites, has now tasked RUAG Space to produce an additional 12 Control and Data Units for Galileo. The delivery of these products will take place between November 2018 to October 2019.

“RUAG Space has provided the ‘brain’ of the Galileo satellites ever since the program started and we thank OHB for their continued trust in our product”, says Peter Guggenbach, CEO of RUAG Space. “We are proud to be on board as the European navigation system now takes the next crucial step towards full service.”

The on-board computer controls and monitors the navigation payload and numerous other subsystems. It will also monitor the satellite’s status, for example the temperature – taking actions to ensure that the satellites remain fully functional.

Determining a person’s position on earth

Further electronics contributions include the receiver electronics and antennas on the satellite needed to determine the position of a person or item on earth. Furthermore, RUAG provides the power supply modules for the Search and Rescue Transponder. The Search And Rescue (SAR) operations will involve locating and helping people in distress.

On the mechanical side, RUAG Space will supply the mechanisms used to align the Galileo satellites’ solar array. As a satellite orbits the Earth, it continuously changes its alignment to the sun. Special mechanisms known as SADMs (Solar Array Drive Mechanisms) ensure that the solar array precisely tracks these changes in order to obtain the maximum energy yield by optimizing the orientation of the solar cells relative to the sun.

Further, RUAG Space is producing a special thermal insulation blanket. The Galileo satellites will be ‘wrapped up’ almost entirely in this blanket to ensure that the sensitive onboard electronics are not damaged by the extreme temperature fluctuations encountered by the satellites in space.

RUAG Space has been delivering all of these products since the start of the Galileo program. The upcoming launch will bring the total Galileo constellation to 22, boosting the global availability of navigation signals.

Ariane 5 also steered by a RUAG computer

Besides its expertise as a supplier to satellite manufacturers, RUAG also delivers sought-after products for launchers. For this Ariane 5 launch, RUAG supplies the 13 meter long payload fairing, antennas, as well as the on-board computer, which steers the 750t rocket through the atmosphere and into the right orbit.

RUAG Space is the leading supplier to the space industry in Europe, with a growing presence in the United States. With close to 1,300 staff across six countries, it develops and manufactures products for satellites and launch vehicles – playing a key role both in the institutional and commercial space market. RUAG Space is a division of the international technology Group RUAG. RUAG develops and markets internationally sought-after technology applications in the fields of aerospace, security and defence for use on land, in the air and in space. 57% of RUAG's products and services are destined for the civil market and 43% for the military market. The Group is headquartered in Bern (Switzerland). It has production sites in Switzerland and in 13 other countries in Europe, the USA and Asia-Pacific. Around 8700 employees – of whom 430 are trainees – represent 48 nationalities and generate sales of some CHF 1.86 billion.

The Full Operational Capability phase of the Galileo programme is managed and fully funded by the European Union. The Commission and ESA have signed a delegation agreement by which ESA acts as design and procurement agent on behalf of the Commission.