Telecommunications & Navigation

Surrey's Role in Europe's Galileo Navigation System

Surrey has delivered 22 navigation payloads for the deployment phase of Galileo, Europe's satellite navigation system.

In 2010 Surreywas selected with consortium partner OHB System of Bremen, Germany, for the provision of the first satellites in the full operational capability phase of the Galileo program. Within the team, OHB took the role of prime contractor and builder of the spacecraft platform and Surrey took full responsibility for the navigation payloads onboard the satellite that will form the heart of the navigation system.

Surrey's payload solution is based on European-sourced atomic clocks, signal generators, high-power TWTAs and antennas. Each payload is formed of a number of subsystems that combine to generate the navigation messages broadcast by the satellites directly to a user's receiver. 

Timing Subsystem –  the heart of the navigation payload, containing two different types of highly accurate atomic clock.

Mission Uplink Subsystem – receives the data messages sent to the satellites from the ground control system.

Signal Generator Subsystem – responsible for the generation of the navigation signals.

RF Amplification Subsystem – transmits the navigation signals to the ground with a sufficient quality and power to enable a receiver to track them.

Search and Rescue Payload – relays distress and coordination messages from COSPAS-SARSAT Search and Rescue service. 

Laser Retroreflector Array – reflects laser light fired at the satellite to support the accurate tracking from the ground of the satellite in its orbit. 

Press Releases

SSTL completes Galileo in-orbit test campaign - 9 September 2008
British company wins key role in Europe's Galileo programme - 7 January 2010
SSTL signs 80m Euros contract with OHB for second batch of Galileo satellites - 11 July 2012
SSTL completes delivery of first four Galileo FOC satellite payloads - 12 June 2013
SSTL delivers 22nd Galileo FOC payload - 13 May 2016


Visit Surrey's Media Gallery for downloadable images of Surrey's Galileo payload.

This information has been produced under funding of the European Union. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union and/or ESA. The OHB/SSTL project is funded by, and part of, an initiative by the European Union (EU) for a satellite-supported European navigation system, and where the European Space Agency (ESA) acts in the name of, and on behalf of, the EU.


Surrey’s pioneering work as prime contractor for the GIOVE-A satellite and in testing the signals will prove invaluable for the execution of this contract. GIOVE-A was the first part of the in-orbit validation phase of the Galileo program, broadcasting the first signal to successfully secure the critical frequency filing with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) at 17:25 GMT on the January 12, 2006.

Giove-A panel testing

On the May 2, 2007, GIOVE-A successfully transmitted the first European navigation message from space, containing the information needed by users' receivers to calculate their position.

Find out more about GIOVE-A.