Monthly Archives: August 2015

Press briefing on launch of satellites 9 & 10

Galileo Constellation

The next two satellites in Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system will be launched together on 11 September, taking its orbital constellation a step closer to initial services. Media are invited to take part in an audio briefing on 10 September.

Galileos 9/10 are scheduled to lift off at 02:08 GMT on 11 September (04:08 CEST; 23:08 local time, 10 September) from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on top of a Soyuz rocket. They are expected to become operational, after initial in-orbit testing, later in the autumn. Read more…

Soyuz VS12 – Satellites 9 & 10 fuelled

Satellite fueled in S3B payload preparation facility

The two European Galileo navigation satellites for Arianespace’s next mission from French Guiana have been fueled at the Spaceport, readying them for integration with their Soyuz launcher.

These spacecraft were “topped off” during activity this week at the Spaceport’s S3B payload preparation facility, further advancing preparations for the September 10 mission, which is designated Flight VS12 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system, signifying the 12th liftoff of the medium-lift Soyuz vehicle from French Guiana. Read more…

Anatomy of a Galileo Launch

Many months of sustained effort goes into each and every Galileo launch, shown in this sequence of pictures selected from the four Galileo launches so far. The navigation payloads for each satellite are manufactured at Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd in the UK, which are then integrated to their satellite platforms at OHB in Germany. Next comes the rigorous test campaign to ensure the satellites can operate as planned in space, which takes place at ESA’s ESTEC Test Centre in the Netherlands.

The four-stage Soyuz ST-B launcher which deploys each pair of Galileo satellites into medium-Earth orbit is constructed in Russia, then sailed from St. Petersburg to Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Once the Galileo satellites have passed testing they are transported by air to French Guiana, so the proper launch campaign can begin. The first three stages of the Soyuz are assembled horizontally, then raised vertically onto the launch pad. Read more…

Galileo 9 &10 reach European Spaceport

Ninth and tenth Galileo satellites have crossed the Atlantic, touching down in French Guiana ahead of their joint launch this September. The delicate navigation satellites made their journey within environmentally controlled containers, having passed a gamut of tests to confirm their readiness for space.

The pair left ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, last Thursday by road to Luxembourg Findel Airport. On Friday morning the duo flew by Luxair 747 aircraft to Cayenne–Félix Eboué Airport in French Guiana, touching down at around midday local time. Read more…