August 8, 2012
ESA’s Next Galileo Satellite Arrives In French Guiana
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
After traveling nearly 5,000 miles from Thales Alenia Space in Rome, Italy, the next Galileo navigation satellite arrived at Europe´s Spaceport in French Guiana August 7 to begin preparations for an October launch into orbit.
The satellite, enclosed in a protective, air-conditioned container, was accompanied by a four-person team from Thales, plus two representatives, one each from Astrium and the European Space Agency (ESA). Also on the journey were specialized test and support equipment needed for the launch preparations.
The is the fourth Galileo ℠In-Orbit Validation´ (IOV) satellite in a series of satellites being launched into medium-Earth orbit. The first two launched last year. The third Galileo satellite arrived in French Guiana in April. These third and fourth satellites will be launched aboard a Soyuz ST-B vehicle in October.
The satellites are part of a significant undertaking by Europe´s space program to operate an on-ground navigation system based solely on Galileo satellites. This IOV phase is being followed by the deployment of additional satellites for ESA to achieve the ℠Full Operational Capability´ (FOC). The first 22 of these FOC satellites are currently being built by OHB in Germany. UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd is responsible for producing the payloads.
The first four Galileo IOV satellites were built by a consortium led by EADS Astrium, Germany, with Astrium producing the platforms and Astrium UK responsible for the payloads.