August 23, 2018


The Galileo constellation is a programme of the European Union, which has responsibility for its budget and programme oversight.

Europe tasked the design, development and deployment of this complex system and its technologies to the European Space Agency (ESA), which oversaw all of the technical phases as well as in-orbit validation, funded by the European Union. Lastly, GSA, the European GNSS1 Agency, is the EU agency managing the Galileo constellation, systems and services.

The three bodies have different but complementary roles within the programme, which is also working with agencies in partner nations.

The European Union devotes a significant yearly budget—€1.01 billion in 2017—to this programme, to which France is contributing as an EU member (16.66% of the EU budget in 2016).

CNES is making a key contribution to the science and technology programme that has produced new navigation and data transmission tools. Laurent Lestarquit received the European Inventor of the Year award in June 2017 for the radio signal used by the Galileo positioning system. France is also in charge of positioning the Galileo satellites on orbit.

CNES also helped to develop the Ariane 5 ES launcher capable of sending up to four Galileo satellites into circular medium Earth orbit (MEO) at an altitude of 23,222 kilometres.

1 Global Navigation Satellite System

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