The next two satellites in Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system will be launched together on 17 December, concluding a year that will double the number of Galileo satellites in orbit. Media are invited to take part in an audio briefing on 16 December.
Galileo satellites 11/12 are scheduled to lift off at 11:51 GMT on 17 December (12:51 CET; 08:51 Kourou time) from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on a Soyuz rocket. They are expected to become operational, after initial in-orbit testing, next spring.
This is the sixth Galileo launch overall and the third this year, set to bring the number of satellites in space up to 12.
This launch takes place just 10 days before the 10th anniversary of the liftoff of Europe’s very first navigation satellite. Since the experimental GIOVE-A took off on 27 December 2005, not only has the first third of the Galileo constellation reached orbit, but a network of Galileo ground stations has been built across the globe.
From 2016 onwards, the number of Galileo satellites that can be inserted into orbit with a single launch will double from two to four, when a customised Ariane 5 launcher becomes available along with the Soyuz launcher currently in use.
Prelaunch media briefing
Didier Faivre, ESA’s Director of the Galileo Programme and Navigation-related Activities, will hold an audio-only press briefing from Kourou on the state of the Galileo programme on 16 December at 17:00 GMT (18:00 CET; 14:00 Kourou time).
Media interested in joining the briefing should request access information via email to ESA’s Media Relations Office at: firstname.lastname@example.org by 14 December 2015 at the latest.
Covering the launch
In cooperation with Arianespace, ESA TV provides broadcasters with free live videostream of the launch. More information at: http://www.esa.int/esatv/Television
Twitter: @ESA and the hashtag #Galileo