Sunday, October 14, 2012

Second Two Galileo Satellites Launched

The second two Galileo satellites were launched by Arianespace from French Guiana using Russian-built Soyuz ST vehicle.  The first two Galileo navigational satellites were launched a year ago.

The Galileo global satellite navigation system will consist of 30 satellites and their associated ground infrastructure.  The goal is to have the first 18 satellites in orbit by late 2014, at which point service can begin.  Project completion is expected by the end of the decade.

The Galileo satellites have an orbital altitude of 23,222 km.

The Galileo satellites were built by a consortium with Astrium as prime contractor and Thales Alenia Space in charge of assembly, integration and testing.

The European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA) have placed orders with Arianespace to launch 22 other satellites in the Galileo constellation using five Soyuz and three Ariane 5 rockets.

“Since the first launch a year ago, Galileo’s technology has proven itself in orbit,” said Didier Faivre, ESA’s Director of the Galileo Programme and Navigation-related activities.  “Thanks to the satellites launched today, the testing phase will be completed, and clear the way for rapid full-scale deployment of the constellation."

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