Preparing for Galileo's next launch

Sep 11, 2012
Galileo IOV in orbit.

(Phys.org)—After arriving at the launch site last month, the second pair of Galileo navigation satellites is being prepared for launch from Europe's Spaceport in October. 

This week will see the third having its propellant tank filled with hydrazine fuel. The fourth recently had its final multilayer added, with its own propellant tank due to be filled next week.

The twin satellites will be mated to a dispenser for a shared ride aboard the Soyuz ST-B on 10 October, joining the first two Galileos that have been orbiting since October 2011.   

The quartet of will operate from medium orbit 23 222 km above Earth. This is a significant milestone for Europe's Galileo programme because four is the minimum number required for navigational fixes, enabling full system testing whenever they are all visible in the sky.

This In-Orbit Validation phase will be followed by the deployment of more satellites and ground segment to achieve 'Full Operational Capability'. After that, users on the ground can exploit the services.

Galileo satellites in preparation.

Twenty-two of these later satellites are being built by OHB in Germany, responsible for the platforms and final satellite integration, and the UK's Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, producing the payloads.

The first four Galileo satellites were built by a consortium led by EADS Astrium, Germany, with Astrium producing the platforms and Astrium UK responsible for the . They were assembled and tested in Rome by Thales Alenia Space.

Explore further: Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

First Galileo satellite travels to launch site

Dec 01, 2005

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 ...

Galileo satellite undergoes launch check-up at ESTEC

Jan 20, 2011

Galileo's first satellite is undergoing testing at ESA's technical centre in the Netherlands, checking its readiness to be launched into orbit. This marks a significant step for Europe's Galileo satnav constellation.

Galileo's Soyuz launchers arrive at French Guiana

Jun 22, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- The two Soyuz launchers that will fly the first four satellites of Europe’s Galileo navigation system into orbit have arrived at Kourou harbour in French Guiana, completing a journey ...

Recommended for you

Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

8 hours ago

Monday night's lunar eclipse proved just as delightful as expected to those able to view it. On the East Coast, cloudy skies may have gotten in the way, but at the National Science Foundation's National Optical ...

Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

11 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study, published ...

Let's put a sailboat on Titan

14 hours ago

The large moons orbiting the gas giants in our solar system have been getting increasing attention in recent years. Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is the only natural satellite known to house a thick atmosphere. ...

Image: Rosetta's Philae lander snaps a selfie

14 hours ago

Philae is awake… and taking pictures! This image, acquired last night with the lander's CIVA (Comet nucleus Infrared and Visible Analyzer) instrument, shows the left and right solar panels of ESA's well-traveled ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

(Phys.org) —Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study, published ...

Let's put a sailboat on Titan

The large moons orbiting the gas giants in our solar system have been getting increasing attention in recent years. Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is the only natural satellite known to house a thick atmosphere. ...

Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

Monday night's lunar eclipse proved just as delightful as expected to those able to view it. On the East Coast, cloudy skies may have gotten in the way, but at the National Science Foundation's National Optical ...