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About the Navigation Support Office

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. The main objectives of the Navigation Support Office are the provision of expertise for high-accuracy navigation, satellite geodesy, and the generation of related products and services for all ESA missions and for third-party customers, as well as supporting the European GNSS Programs: Galileo and EGNOS.

The Navigation Support Office offers a combination of different capabilities, namely highest quality software, tools for real-time and batch processing ( the Office is the only analysis centre capable of processing three different geodetic techniques within a single software package), operation of own global GNSS sensor station network and demonstrated operational experience for mission support and provision of services. Operations are conducted in a controlled environment,  fully in accordance with ESA safety and security standards.

The Navigation Support Office is ready for multi-frequency, multi-signal and multi constellation GNSS data processing. The Office is involved and strongly committed to support Galileo and EGNOS. In this context, the Office will soon become the consortium leader for the provision of the Galileo Geodetic Reference Frame.

Concerning the participation to international GNSS activities like IGS, ICG and GNSS standardisation aspects, the Navigation Support Office intends to continue its support for the foreseeable future.

In the area of LEO POD, the Navigation Support Office offers POD capability for all types of LEO satellites. For this reason, the Office intends to play a major role in the precise orbit determination activities for the European GMES Sentinel satellite missions.

The Navigation Support Office intends to increase its capabilities related to navigation concepts for high precision satellite Formation Flying (FF) and satellite constellations, via specific research and development activities. The aim is to maintain and expand its capabilities as a very attractive partner with cutting edge know-how and technology for the support of ESA activities and European industry.

Expertise and Areas of Activities

To comply with the main objectives of the Navigation Support Office, the main pillars of expertise and areas of activities can be summarized as:

  • Precise Orbit Determination at centimetre-level accuracy for satellites in low-Earth orbits such as Earth observation missions, and satellites in medium-Earth orbits, typically GNSS satellites.
  • Development of state-of-the-art models and algorithms for high-precision orbit and clock determination, based on the capability to process all geodetic data types, namely GNSS, satellite laser ranging, Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite (DORIS), altimetry, and S-band tracking data.
  • Realization of Geodetic Reference Frame.
  • Operations of globally distributed real time sensor stations and networks, based on remote control of GNSS receivers.
  • The capability to operate complex navigation software infrastructure in order to generate operational products and services for a wide variety of applications.
  • Involvement in several internationally organised and coordinated activities. Besides being an IGS analysis centre ESOC’s Navigation Support Office is also an analysis centre for the IDS and ILRS services.