Europe’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…
This is a summary of the main milestones achieved in Kourou in the last days, before declaring the green light in the Launch Readiness Review.
Installation of Galileo 11 and 12 and their dispenser system atop Soyuz Fregat occurred in the European Spaceport’s S3B clean room facility. The dispenser will deploy the satellites by firing a pyrotechnic system for separation in opposite directions at the orbital insertion point.
Fregat operates as Soyuz’ fourth stage, providing an autonomous and flexible propulsion system. Built by Russia’s NPO Lavochkin, it will perform two propulsion burns during the Galileo mission with the upper stage designed to be restarted up to 20 times in flight.
Rollout and vertical positioning of the Soyuz three-stage vehicle. Soyuz was moved via a transport/erector rail car in a horizontal-transfer process from the MIK launcher assembly facility to the Soyuz ELS launch complex. Once on the launch pad, Soyuz was erected to the vertical orientation, where it was suspended in place by four large support arms, followed by the transport/erector rail car’s withdrawal. Read more…
The two Galileo spacecraft for Arianespace’s latest Soyuz launch at the service of Europe’s Galileo satellite-based navigation system, and the company’s record 12th mission overall in 2015, have been integrated at the Spaceport in preparation for their December 17 liftoff from French Guiana.
Giuliano Gatti, ESA’s Galileo Space Segment Manager.
Thierry Fahem, Arianespace Galileo sat 11-12 project director.
Thierry Wilmart, Arianespace Galileo sat 11-12 mission director
Jean-Claude Garreau, Arianespace Launch Site Operations Manager
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. Read more…
On 17 December, Galileo satellites 11 and 12 will be launched on top of the legendary Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Ten years after the launch of GIOVE A, on 28 December 2005, Galileo is now a reality.
The next Galileo launch campaign has begun with the arrival of the latest pair of navigation satellites at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
Their arrival is the start of a busy schedule that will culminate with their launch on a Soyuz rocket on 17 December, the third Galileo launch of the year.
Galileos 11 and 12 touched down at a rain-soaked Cayenne-Félix Eboué Airport on Friday 31 October at 1300 local time.
The satellites were unloaded from their Boeing 747 aircraft, still in their humming air-conditioned containers, straight onto waiting lorries for the last leg of their trip to the Spaceport. Read more…