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.
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…
The initial Ariane 5 to loft four global positioning satellites for Europe’s Galileo navigation system has begun its build-up at the Spaceport in French Guiana for a milestone Arianespace mission in November.
This launcher is an Ariane 5 ES version that began the integration process begining of October, with the cryogenic core stage’s positioning over a mobile launch pad, followed by integration of the vehicle’s two solid propellant boosters.
Designated as Flight VA233 in Arianespace’s numbering system, the mission’s Ariane 5 was assembled inside the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building. During activity in the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building, the heavy-lift vehicle for Arianespace Flight VA233 underwent the assembly process that began by mating Ariane 5’s two solid propellant strap-on boosters with the main cryogenic stage. Read more…
Following rigorous testing in France and Germany, a new type of dispenser designed to carry four navigation satellites into orbit at once is now in French Guiana, in place for Galileo’s first Ariane 5 launch later this year.
The dispenser is an essential element of launch success, with a double role to play. Firstly it must hold the quartet of satellites securely in place during the stresses of liftoff, and then the nearly four-hour long flight to medium-Earth orbit.
Then, once the Ariane 5 EPS upper stage reaches its target 23 222 km altitude, the dispenser has to release the four Galileo satellites smoothly Read more…