The European Commission (EC) has awarded three of the six contracts for creating initial operational capability for the Galileo system.

Galileo is the EU’s initiative for a global satellite navigation system with over 30 satellites that will provide an accurate global positioning service similar to, and interoperable with, the American GPS and the Russian GLONASS, the two other global satellite navigation systems.

At present, OHB has won the first order of 14 satellites for a value of €566m ($813m).

Remaining satellites will be procured through subsequent work orders from either OHB or Astrium based on a December 2009 framework contract with both.

Arianespace received the second EC contract worth €397m ($570m) for five Soyuz launchers each carrying two satellites with the first launch due in October 2012.

Thales Alenia Space will provide system support services including the industrial services to support the European Space Agency for the integration and the validation of the Galileo system valued at €85m ($122m).

The remaining contracts for ground infrastructure and related services will be awarded by the EC in mid-2010.

The Galileo navigation system is expected to become operational by 2014.