Today marks the official start of the building of the Galileo Reference Centre (GRC) at the Space Business Park in Noordwijk. The GRC will measure the quality of services of the European satellite navigation system Galileo. The centre will also be in contact with other satellite navigation systems such as the American Global Positioning System.
The Galileo Reference Centre agreement was signed by the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Environment Melanie Schultz van Haegen and European Commissioner of Internal Market Elżbieta Bieńkowska at the European Space Solutions Conference in The Hague last May. Read more…
An Ariane 5 rocket has launched four additional Galileo satellites, accelerating deployment of the new satellite navigation system.
The Ariane 5, operated by Arianespace, lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana at 13:06 GMT (14:06 CET, 10:06 local time) carrying Galileo satellites 15–18. The first pair was released 3 hours 35 minutes and 44 seconds after liftoff, while the second separated 20 minutes later.
The Galileos are at their target altitude, after a flawless release from the new dispenser designed to handle four satellites. Read more…
Arianespace’s sixth Ariane 5 for liftoff this year has rolled out to the launch zone in French Guiana, clearing the way for the heavy-lift vehicle’s first-ever mission to orbit satellites for Europe’s Galileo navigation system.
The completed Ariane 5 was transferred today atop its mobile launch table from the Final Assembly Building – where payload integration occurred – to the Spaceport’s dedicated ELA-3 launch complex, setting the stage for Arianespace’s ninth overall mission in 2016 across its full family of Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega vehicles.
Designated Flight VA233 in the company’s numbering system, this upcoming Ariane 5 mission – set for Thursday, November 17 – will lift off at exactly 10:06:48 a.m. local time in French Guiana and deploy its quartet of Galileo spacecraft during a nearly four-hour flight.
Two flagship European space programmes will combine on 17 November, as Galileo navigation satellites are carried into orbit by an Ariane 5 rocket for the first time.
Using this customised vehicle allows four Galileos to be launched together. The total number of satellites in orbit will rise from 14 to 18 – the single biggest increase of any navigation satellite constellation from a single launch.
Liftoff of Ariane flight VA233 is scheduled for 13:06 GMT (14:06 CET, 10:06 local time) on 17 November. Read more…
Galileo satellites lowered into position for installation atop the central core
Antonianna, Lisa, Kimberley and Tijmen – the latest Galileo spacecraft for Europe’s satellite navigation constellation – have been integrated with their Ariane 5 launcher in French Guiana for a November 17 Arianespace mission.
The four 715 kg satellites – named for winners of a European children’s drawing contest – were attached to their dispenser as a combined ‘upper composite’ and transported to the final assembly building on 31 October.
The next step saw them put on top of the upper stage of their customised launcher. Finally, on 3 November, the quartet was enclosed within a protective fairing – the last time they were seen by human eyes – to protect them from the onrushing atmosphere during ascent.
Arianespace previously has lofted 14 Full Operational Capability (FOC) and In-Orbit Validation (IOV) satellites for Galileo from French Guiana with seven missions utilizing its medium-lift Soyuz vehicle, along with two other Soyuz flights from the Baikonur Cosmodrome that deployed the GIOVE-A and GIOVE-B experimental satellites.
Next Thursday 17 November at 10.06 Kourou Time/14.06 CET an Ariane 5 will launch Galileo satellites for the first time. Equipped with a specially designed dispenser, the European launcher will deploy four satellites: Galileo Sat 15, 16, 17 and 18. This video explains the current status of the Galileo system.
On 17 November at 13:06 GMT (14:06 CET), a single Ariane 5 rocket is set to propel four Galileo satellites into orbit for the navigation constellation’s first-ever quadruple launch. Mission controllers are training intensively for the complex space delivery.
Ariane 5 will use a new payload dispenser to release four identical satellites into orbit in one go.
This will be the eighth Galileo launch, and will bring the number of satellites in space to 18. Once complete, the system will sport 24 operational satellites and a ground network to provide positioning, navigation and timing services. Read more…