Monthly Archives: May 2016

Launch 7. Payload integration begins

sat-13 integrated on its payload dispenser. Soyuz VS15The first of two Galileo navigation satellites to be orbited on Arianespace’s May 24 Soyuz flight has been integrated on its payload dispenser system, marking a key step as preparations advance for this medium-lift mission from French Guiana.

Named “Danielė”, the spacecraft was installed last week during activity inside the Spaceport’s S3B payload preparation facility. It is to be joined on the dispenser system by the mission’s other passenger, “Alizée”, whose own installation is forthcoming in a side-by-side arrangement.

The pair are then to be mated atop Soyuz’ Fregat upper stage and encapsulated in the protective payload fairing. Prime contractor OHB System in Bremen, Germany produced the satellites, and their onboard payloads are supplied by UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), which is 99-percent owned by Airbus Defence and Space. Read more…

Galileo 13 & 14 fueled

Galileo satellite 13 and 14 fueledPreparations for Arianespace’s upcoming mission have moved into the fueling phase for the two Galileo navigation satellites that will be orbited by a medium-lift Soyuz on 24 May from the Spaceport in French Guiana.

Technicians donned spacesuit-like protective outfits to handle the toxic hydrazine fuel that will enable the two satellites to fine-tune their orbits and orientation over the course of their working lives of 12 years or more.

The 13th Galileo satellite was fuelled on 3 May, with the 14th being fuelled a day later.

After fuelling both satellites have been connected to “checkout terminal equipment” to enable battery charging and atomic clock monitoring. Read more…

Satellite 11 & 12 broadcasting navigation signals

ESA's centre in ReduEurope’s latest navigation satellites, launched last December, have been officially commissioned into the Galileo constellation, and are now broadcasting working navigation signals since 22 April.

Galileos 11 and 12 were launched together on a Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 17 December. The satellites’ navigation payloads were submitted to a gamut of tests, centred on ESA’s Redu centre in Belgium, which possesses a 20 m-diameter antenna to analyse the satellites’ signals in great detail.

For users to navigate with metre-level accuracy, Galileo must keep extremely accurate time. Because light travels at a fixed speed, just under 30 cm every billionth of a second, the time it takes for Galileo signals to reach a user’s receiver on the ground can be converted into distance. All the receiver has to do is multiply the travel time by the speed of light, pinpointing its location from at least four satellites. Read more…