First Galileo satellite travels to launch site

Dec 01, 2005
First Galileo Satellite

GIOVE A, the first Galileo satellite, departed from ESA's test facility at the European Space Research and Technology Centre in The Netherlands on the morning of 29 November, bound for the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The spacecraft, packed in its transport container and accompanied by its support equipment, was taken by road from the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) to Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, where it was loaded onto an Antonov transport plane. GIOVE-A was flown first to Moscow and, after customs formalities had been completed, made the second leg of its air journey to Baikonur, arriving in the early hours of 30 November. It will be placed in orbit by a Soyuz/Fregat launch vehicle, with lift-off scheduled for late December.

GIOVE A is the first of two Galileo In-Orbit Validation Elements, which with its sister spacecraft GIOVE B and their associated ground segment make up the first stage of the in-orbit validation (IOV) of the Galileo system.

The main mission objectives of the GIOVE satellites are to:

-- Validate new technologies for operational use
-- Demonstrate the feasibility of broadcasting near-real-time orbit determination and time synchronisation data with high accuracy (uncertainty less than 50 cm), as envisaged for the full Galileo system
-- Secure the Galileo frequency filings
-- Characterise the radiation environment of medium earth orbit that the operational satellites will occupy

GIOVE-A has been developed by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (UK). Galileo Industries (GaIn) is developing the GIOVE-B satellite. GaIn is a European consortium including Alcatel Alenia Space (F/I), Astrium (D/UK) and Galileo Sistemas y Servicios (E). GIOVE B is undergoing final integration and testing at the Rome facilities of Alcatel Alenia Space, prior to moving to the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) for its environmental test campaign. It is due to be launched in 2006.

Experience gained from the GIOVE missions will support the development of the Galileo IOV system. The next phase of Galileo IOV will be the deployment of the first four of 30 fully representative Galileo satellites that will be required for full system operation.

Source: ESA

Explore further: Most days in the life of an astronomer aren't spent at telescopes

Related Stories

What drives the solar cycle?

Mar 30, 2015

You can be thankful that we bask in the glow of a relatively placid star. Currently about halfway along its 10 billion year career on the Main Sequence, our sun fuses hydrogen into helium in a battle against ...

Satellite gearing up to take EPIC pictures of Earth

Feb 24, 2015

The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite is on its way to do something epic. NOAA's spacecraft, sent to monitor space weather, will use its Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) to capture ...

Guiding our search for life on other earths

Feb 17, 2015

A telescope will soon allow astronomers to probe the atmosphere of Earthlike exoplanets for signs of life. To prepare, Lisa Kaltenegger and her team are modeling the atmospheric fingerprints for hundreds ...

Recommended for you

Traffic around Mars gets busy

1 hour ago

NASA has beefed up a process of traffic monitoring, communication and maneuver planning to ensure that Mars orbiters do not approach each other too closely.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.