Having completed their rigorous checks in space, two more of Europe’s Galileo satellites are now fully operational, broadcasting navigation signals and, from today, relaying search and rescue messages from across the globe.
Galileos 7 and 8 were launched from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 27 March. Once the satellites were nursed to life in orbit, their navigation payloads underwent a lengthy test campaign.
This involved assessing that the satellites themselves were performing as planned and meshing with the worldwide Galileo ground network.
The satellites’ secondary search and rescue payloads were also put to the test, picking up and relaying UHF signals from distress beacons as part of the international Cospas–Sarsat system. Read more…
The EU’s Galileo satellite navigation system now has eight satellites in orbit following the launch of the latest pair. Galileo 7 & 8 lifted off at 21:46 GMT (22:46 CET) on 27 March from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on top of a Soyuz rocket. All the Soyuz stages performed as planned, with the Fregat upper stage releasing the satellites into their target orbit close to 23 500 km altitude, around 3 hours 48 minutes after liftoff.
Galileo Soyuz-VS11 (27-March 2015)
Following initial checks, run jointly by ESA and France’s CNES space agency from the CNES Toulouse centre, the two satellites will be handed over to the Galileo Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany and the Galileo in-orbit testing facility in Redu, Belgium for testing before they are commissioned for operational service. This is expected in mid-year. Read more…
The liftoff of Soyuz flight VS11 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana took place as scheduled on 21:46:18 GMT (22:46:18 CET) on Friday 27 March 2015. The launcher was carrying Europe’s seventh and eighth Galileo navigation satellites, due to separate from their Fregat upper stage into their assigned orbit on 3 h 47 min after lift-off.