New delay for launch of Europe navigation satellites (Update)

Aug 21, 2014
A Soyuz rocket carrying a pair of Galileo In-Orbit Validation satellites lifts off from Europe'’s Spaceport in Sinnamary, 12km from Kourou, French Guiana on October 12, 2012

Bad weather delayed the liftoff Thursday of a rocket with two new satellites for Europe's rival to GPS, launch firm Arianespace said as it announced 12 orbiters will join the constellation from next year.

The liftoff of the fifth and sixth Galileo satellites, already delayed by more than a year, had been scheduled for 1231 GMT from the European space centre at Kourou in French Guiana on a Russian-made Soyuz rocket on Thursday.

But "unfavourable" weather intervened to cause an indefinite delay, Arianespace said in a statement.

"Another launch date will be decided depending on the evolution of the weather conditions in Kourou," it said.

Arianespace also announced it had signed a deal with the European Space Agency (ESA) to launch 12 more satellites "from 2015 onwards", for the EU-funded Galileo network.

The staggered launches aboard three dedicated Ariane 5 ES rockets would "step up the deployment" of the navigation system, the company said, without specifying over what period they would happen.

The 5.4-billion-euro ($7.2-billion) Galileo constellation is designed to provide an alternative in case of signal failure on the existing US Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russia's Glonass, and will have search and rescue capabilities.

Four satellites have been launched to date—the first pair in October 2011 and the second a year later. It will ultimately comprise 27 satellites and three reserves.

Previous delays in the launch of orbiters SAT 5 and SAT 6 had been blamed on what ESA described as "technical difficulties in the setting up of the production line and test tools".

The agency has previously said that 18 satellites should be able to provide initial navigation services to users "by mid-decade", with full services from the complete 30-part constellation "scheduled for the decade's end".

In March last year, the ESA said Galileo's first four test satellites had passed a milestone by pinpointing their first ground location, with an accuracy of between 10 and 15 metres (32 to 49 feet).

Explore further: Two new satellites for Europe's Galileo space network

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Two new satellites for Europe's Galileo space network

Aug 18, 2014

Europe is set to launch two satellites Thursday for its Galileo navigation system, boosting the number in the Earth-orbiting constellation to six and bringing the network a step closer to becoming operational ...

Soyuz rocket launches two Galileo satellites

Oct 13, 2012

A Soyuz rocket launched two Galileo satellites into orbit on Friday, marking a crucial step for Europe's planned navigation system, operator Arianespace announced.

Latest Galileo satellite arrives at ESA's test centre

May 01, 2014

Europe's latest Galileo navigation satellite has arrived at the Agency's technical centre in the Netherlands for testing, as the previous two satellites are prepared for shipping to French Guiana for launch ...

Recommended for you

The latest observations of interstellar particles

2 minutes ago

With all the news about Voyager 1 leaving the heliosphere and entering interstellar space you might think that the probe is the first spacecraft to detect interstellar particles. That isn't entirely true, ...

Hepatitis C virus proteins in space

11 minutes ago

Two researchers at Technische Universität München have won the 'International Space Station Research Competition' with their project 'Egypt Against Hepatitis C Virus.' As their prize, the scientists will ...

Very Long Baseline Array takes radio image of Voyager 1

1 hour ago

The image above is a radio image of Voyager 1. It was taken from the Very Long Baseline Array, which is a collection of 10 radio telescopes scattered from Hawaii to the Virgin Islands. It captures the faint ...

Lunar explorers will walk at higher speeds than thought

15 hours ago

Anyone who has seen the movies of Neil Armstrong's first bounding steps on the moon couldn't fail to be intrigued by his unusual walking style. But, contrary to popular belief, the astronaut's peculiar walk ...

User comments : 0