The Navigation Support Office is an integral part of the Ground Systems Engineering Department of the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), located in Darmstadt, Germany.

Our Mission

The Navigation Support Office is charged to:

  • provide expertise for high-accuracy navigation and satellite geodesy;

  • generate related products and services for all ESA missions and for third-party customers;

  • support the European GNSS Programs: Galileo and EGNOS.

Our Capabilities

The Navigation Support Office offers a combination of different capabilities, which are highlighted below. Further details and links can be found on our Expertise page.

Precise Orbit Determination

The Office can produce orbits at centimetre-level accuracy for satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) and medium Earth orbit (MEO). Typically, the LEO satellites are Earth observation missions while the MEO satellites are GNSS satellites; both mission types require high-accuracy position knowledge to meet their mission goals.

Models and Algorithms

The Navigation Support Office develops and maintains state-of-the-art models and algorithms for high-precision orbit and clock determination. These models make use of all geodetic data types: GNSS, SLR, DORIS, VLBI (under development), altimetry, and S-band tracking data.

Powerful Measurement Processing

Of particular note is the in-house capability (through software and expertise) to process measurements from the four space geodesy techniques: GNSS, SLR, DORIS, and VLBI. This means that the Navigation Support Office is the only analysis centre to process these techniques simultaneously at the observation level, ensuring that the processing is completed without loss of information.

GNSS Receiver Network

The Navigation Support Office operates ESA's GNSS Observation Network (EGON), a globally distributed network of GNSS receivers which are remotely controlled from the Navigation Facility at ESOC.

Operational Mindset

The Office has demonstrated operational experience for mission support and provision of services. These services see the Office operating a complex navigation software infrastructure to generate operational products and services for a wide variety of applications. Our operations are conducted in a controlled environment, fully in accordance with ESA safety and security standards.

Our Activities

Highlighted activities include:

  • precise orbit determination for the European Sentinel missions

  • provision of navigation services to institutional and industrial customers

  • consortium leader for the provision of the Galileo Geodetic Reference Frame;

  • contribution to the international scientific community through the IGS, ICG, ILRS, IDS, and other organizations

Further details can be found on our Activities page.

Our Future

The Navigation Support Office is constantly looking into the future; some activities under consideration include:

  • multi-frequency, multi-signal and multi constellation GNSS data processing;

  • GNSS standardization;

  • navigation concepts for high precision satellite Formation Flying and satellite constellations.