EU turns from OHB in favour of Airbus and Thales for second-generation Galileo sats (Updated)

by | Jan 20, 2021 | Constellation, Satellites, Seradata News, Space politics, Technology

The European Commission has selected providers for the second-generation of its Galileo satellite navigation system. The announcement, on 20 January, identified European space industry stalwarts Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS) and Thales Alenia Space (TAS) as the contract recipients. The loser was OHB Systems, Germany, which, along with the British small satellite manufacturing company SSTL – itself a part of Airbus DS, had been previously responsible for all the 34 first-generation Galileo satellites.

The new contracts are officially due to be signed before the end of the month and are worth EUR€1.47 billion (US$1.8 billion) in total. Both Airbus DS and TAS will be required to produce six second-generation units, with the launch of the first examples planned for 2024. These new satellites will be radically different from their predecessors and are slated to be kitted out with digitally configurable antennas, inter-satellite links, new atomic clocks, and electric propulsion.

All this adds up to the new units being significantly more expensive (EUR€122.5 million compared with EUR€40-60 million) than the first generation.

Artist’s impression of a new Galileo sat in-orbit. Courtesy of European Commission

Update 04/02/2021: Reported by Space Intel Report is that on 29 January OHB filed a protest with the European Court of Justice (ECJ) preventing the EU from ratifying its contract awards. OHB reportedly claim that its trade secrets have been transferred to one of the winning bidders – Airbus. The ECJ has determined that the OHB claim has merit and therefore caused a halt to proceedings while it investigates. It is estimated that this delay will set back the Galileo second-generation project by several months to a year.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to

Related Articles

SES picks Thales to build two new GEO sats to ensure continuation of service at 19.2 East

SES has ordered two Ku-band GEO satellites from fellow European company Thales Alenia Space (TAS). The new spacecraft are to Read more

Thales Alenia Space selected to build a dual-band HTS GEO unit for Indonesia

[caption id="attachment_106151" align="alignright" width="398"] An artist's impression of the new satellite in-orbit. Courtesy of Thales Alenia Space[/caption] Thales Alenia Space Read more

Thales Alenia Space gets order for two COSMO-Skymed Second Generation Sats

The Italian arm of the satellite constructor, Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), and Read more

ESA finally commits to reusable Italian-led Space Rider “space plane” prototype…as it also plans reusable rocket stage

On 9 December 2020 ESA (European Space Agency) placed an order with Italian suppliers for an reusable lifting body called Read more

ESA orders ROSE-L spacecraft from Thales Alenia Space with Airbus DS building the radar

ESA and Thales Alenia Space signed a €482 million (US$586 million) contract to develop the Radar Observation System for Europe Read more

ESA confirms awards for three further Copernicus missions with European manufacturers

The European Space Agency (ESA) went ahead, on 13 November, with signing three, two-satellite construction contracts with European industry. Two Read more

LeoStella to build reprioritised NorthStar E&S in-orbit SSA constellation

European satellite manufacturer Thales Alenia Space (TAS) has received a construction contract from NorthStar Earth and Space, of Canada. The Read more

ESA hands out contracts…for Lunar Gateway elements and for Earth Return Orbiter

The European Space Agency (ESA) took the opportunity at the International Astronautical Congress IAC 2020 (Online/Cyberspace edition) to announce contracts Read more