These pictures give the first detailed views of the next batch of Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellites, the first of which has already been delivered to ESA for rigorous testing in simulated space conditions.
It is being prepared for testing in the ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk (the Netherlands), a unique test centre with all the facilities needed to validate a satellite for launch under one roof.
This initial FOC satellite is functionally identical to the first four Galileo In-Orbit Validation satellites already in orbit, the operational nucleus of the full Galileo constellation, but has been built by a separate industrial team.
The satellite’s prime contractor is OHB in Bremen (Germany) and the navigation payload was produced by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd in Guildford (UK).
The satellite is approximately the size and shape of an old-fashioned telephone booth.
It is dominated by its circular L-band antenna that will continuously broadcast navigation messages down to Earth. The smaller, hexagonal antenna beside it will perform a no less vital task, picking up emergency messages from vessels in distress to relay to search and rescue authorities, contributing to the international Cospas-Sarsat system.