2018 Thurlow Award

Presented to: Marco Falcone

Citation: For engineering contributions and leadership integral to the design of equipment used for navigation–the Galileo satnav system.

Dr. Maco Falcone - 2018 Thurlow Award

Mr. Marco Falcone joined the European Space Agency (ESA) in 1993. Since 2000, he has assumed technical responsibility for the design, development, and deployment of Galileo, the European global satnav system. Through political and funding uncertainties within the European community, changing governance, schedule and technical challenges, and even a flawed launch, Mr. Falcone remained a technical leader. The force of his personality and strength of his technical capabilities made the ESA the technical lead for Galileo. He has maintained the vision of a complete and operational Galileo system, doing what was necessary, to achieve that vision.

Mr. Falcone was the mission manager for Europe’s first navigation satellite, GIOVE-A, launched in 2005, which secured Galileo frequency filings, and for the GIOVE-B satellite in 2008, which carried the most accurate atomic clock ever flown in space and provided improved signal transmission capabilities. In 2008, he became the system and operations manager, responsible for the Galileo In-Orbit Validation leading in 2013 to the first determination of a receiver position using the four Galileo satellites. Since 2014, he has managed the Galileo System Office responsible for conducting the Galileo system engineering activities. Following the faulty orbital injection of the first two Galileo satellites in 2014, he led the activity to salvage the satellites. He also led the system validation activities that enabled the declaration of initial services by the European Commission in 2016. In 2017, Galileo simultaneously launched four satellites. Over the past year, Galileo launched eight more satellites, four at a time, as planned. The flawless execution of this complex satellite deployment is an example of Mr. Falcone’s technical leadership.

Mr. Falcone received an MS in Computer Science from the University of Pisa, Italy, in 1987 and a Master’s Degree in Space System Engineering from the University of Delft, The Netherlands, in 1999.