BEIJING — Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy will perform operations, support and maintenance work on Europe’s GPS satellite navigation overlay system for eight years under a contract valued at more than 120 million euros ($162 million), Thales Alenia Space announced Sept. 26.

The contract, with Telespazio of Rome, includes minor mission upgrades to Europe’s Egnos system, which uses terminals on telecommunications satellites in geostationary orbit, and a network of ground stations, to validate the accuracy of the GPS medium-orbit constellation.

Similar geostationary GPS overlays exist in the United States, Japan and Russia.

Telespazio of Italy, which is owned by the same corporate parents that own Thales Alenia Space, in July joined forces with European Satellite Services Provider (ESSP) of Toulouse, France, to win the Egnos prime contract, valued at up to 450 million euros over the same eight-year period.

Egnos is owned by the 28-nation European Union, which currently manages it separately from the collective’s Galileo positioning, navigation and timing constellation now in development.

Peter B. de Selding was the Paris Bureau Chief for SpaceNews.