On Wednesday, the European Commission awarded contracts for six satellites to Thales Alenia Space and six for Airbus Defence & Space, a division of the German-based Airbus aeronautics group.
The 12 satellites, worth €1.47 billion, will be the second generation of tools for the European satellite positioning system Galileo.
The first of these 12 new satellites will be put into orbit by the end of 2024, the European executive said on Wednesday.
“With their new skills, based on highly innovative technologies (digitally configurable antennas, inter-satellite links, atomic clocks with new technologies and a full-electric propulsion system), these satellites will improve Galileo’s accuracy and the robustness and resilience of its signal, which will be key in the coming digital decade and for more military and security use,” it announced.
Galileo is Europe’s “GPS” system, and is used for geolocation and navigation, in connection with all kinds of tools (smartphones, connected objects, vehicles, etc.).
Currently, the system is based on 26 satellites in orbit.