Galileo – the European Satellite Navigation System

logo of the satellite programme "Galileo" of the European Union

The Galileo programme is Europe's initiative for a state-of-the-art global satellite navigation system, providing a highly accurate, guaranteed global positioning service under civilian control. The fully deployed system will consist of 30 satellites and the associated ground infrastructure.

Galileo will be inter-operable with GPS and GLONASS, the two other global satellite navigation systems.


Galileo will give Europe independence in satellite navigation, a sector that has become very important for its economy (about 7% of the EU GDP in 2009) and the well-being of its citizens.

Independent studies also show that Galileo will deliver around €90 billion to the EU economy over the first 20 years of operations, in the form of direct revenues for the space, receivers and applications industries and in the form of indirect revenues for society (more effective transport systems, more effective rescue operations etc.)


Guiding blinds in an unknown city, locate people lost at sea with a 3 meters accuracy, guiding tractors by satellite for higher crop yields with much less fertilizer, reducing fuel and time consumption on the road thanks to a better traffic management, making flights and landings safer: this is not science fiction, these applications are already being tested now.

Thanks to its accuracy Galileo opens the doors to a huge range of innovative applications making every day life easier and safer.


Three initial services will be provided from 2014 onwards:

  • The Open Service: Galileo open and free of user charge signal,
  • The Public Regulated Service: a special Galileo navigation service using encrypted signals set up for better management of critical transport and emergency services, better law enforcement, improved border control and safer peace missions,
  • The Search And Rescue Service, contribution of Europe to COSPAS-SARSAT, an international satellite-based search and rescue distress alert detection system.

Two other services will be tested as of 2014 and provided as the system reaches full operational capability with the 30 satellites:

  • The Safety-of-Life Service that improves the open service performance,
  • The Commercial Service that gives access to two additional encrypted signals.