The Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s next Galileo mission arrives at the Spaceport
Elements for Arianespace’s Ariane 5 mission in December have been delivered to the Spaceport in French Guiana for the heavy-lift launcher’s second flight at the service of Europe’s Galileo global satellite navigation system.
These components arrived this month in French Guiana aboard the MN Colibri, which is one of two sea-going roll-on/roll-off ships that transport launcher hardware from Europe to the South American launch site for Arianespace’s family of launch vehicles.
The year-end launch will orbit four more Galileo spacecraft, to be deployed into medium Earth orbit from a dispenser system on the Ariane 5 ES launcher version equipped with a re-ignitable upper stage. Galileo is designed to provide a new European global satellite navigation system with precision positioning services under civilian control.
A December liftoff for Ariane 5 and its Galileo satellites
Designated Flight VA240 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system, the mission is targeted for December 12. As the latest mission carrying Galileo satellites, Flight VA240 is to be performed on behalf of the European Commission under a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA).
The two half-shells for Ariane 5’s payload fairing enter the Spaceport aboard separate flatbed trucks. When assembled on Ariane 5, the fairing will protect Flight VA240’s Galileo satellites during the launcher’s ascent through the atmosphere’s denser layers.
Galileo is funded by the European Union, with overall responsibility for management and implementation held by the European Commission. ESA is assigned design and development of the new generation of systems and infrastructure.
Arianespace already has launched 18 Galileo spacecraft, with four being orbited on a previous Ariane 5 mission (Flight VA233 in November 2016), and the others lofted by seven medium-lift Soyuz vehicles carrying two satellites each.
Larger versions of the photos above are available for downloading in the Gallery.