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Orolia inks €70m deal to provide atomic clocks for second generation of EU's Galileo navigation satellites

Time to hit the road

Orolia – the Resilient Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) outfit with its European HQ in France – has won two contracts worth €70m to provide atomic clocks for the first 12 satellites of the Galileo Second Generation System (G2S).

The first deal was from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the second from Leonardo, it revealed in a statement.

Each of the new G2S satellites is set to contain three Orolia Rubidium Atomic Frequency Standards (RAFS) and two Orolia atomic clock physics packages integrated with Leonardo's Passive Hydrogen Masers (PHM).

Orolia's RAFS provide what the firm describes as a "stable rubidium atomic clock able to deliver a frequency stability of about 2x10-14 over averaging intervals of 10,000 seconds."

The Leonardo PHM is the master clock for the Galileo satellite payload.

To date, Orolia has delivered more than 140 RAFS Flight Models worldwide, with 114 flying on Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) constellations. It also reported that 100 PHM Flight Models have been delivered worldwide with 56 flying on the current Galileo constellation.

In May, ESA inked two contracts totalling €1.47bn to design and build the first batch of the second generation of Europe's Galileo navigation satellites.

The contracts were awarded to Thales Alenia Space (Italy) and Airbus Defence & Space (Germany) to create "two independent families" of satellites that together make up 12 Galileo Second Generation satellites.

In July, a report in Nature revealed the recent progress NASA had made detailing workings of its "first trapped-ion space clock" in a move that could "pave the way for real-time navigation in deep space." ®

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