Surrey Satellites Technology Ltd (SSTL) and the Galileo satellite navigation programme achieved a major milestone last week when SSTL delivered the first Galileo test satellite. The 'Galileo System Test Bed v2A (GSTB-v2A)' satellite was delivered to ESA so that they could begin thermal vacuum testing at the ESTEC technical facility in Noordwijk, Netherlands.
In a contract with SSTL worth £20 million signed in July 2003, the demonstrator satellite is to provide the first Galileo navigation signal from space.
The satellite was placed into the ESTEC thermal vacuum chamber on Friday 29 July and a two-week programme of thermal tests is now under way which will be followed by mechanical and electro magnetic compatibility tests during the next 2 months also to be carried out at ESTEC.
Explore further: Image: ESA's Large European Acoustic Facility