Ariane 5 is ready to receive its Galileo satellites for launch by Arianespace in July
The next Ariane 5 launcher to orbit Galileo navigation satellites has completed its initial build-up in French Guiana, continuing preparations for Arianespace’s July mission – which is designated Flight VA244 in the company’s numbering system.
This heavy-lift vehicle underwent its assembly process inside the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building, beginning with the mating of its two solid propellant strap-on boosters and the core cryogenic stage. The next steps were the launcher’s vehicle equipment bay integration atop the core stage, followed by installation of the storable propellant stage – which is the configuration used on this Ariane 5 ES version of Arianespace’s workhorse launcher.
After completion of verifications and systems checkout by ArianeGroup, production prime contractor the launcher, Ariane 5 will be moved to the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building for integration of its four-satellite payload of Galileo FOC (Full Operational Capability) satellites.
Sending satellites to a circular medium Earth orbit
A dispenser system will secure the four Galileo FOC satellites in place during their ascent to a targeted release in a circular medium Earth orbit (MEO) using a pyrotechnic separation system.
As Europe’s own global navigation satellite system, Galileo is operated under civilian control, offering guaranteed high-precision positioning around the world. Its initial services began in December 2016, allowing users equipped with Galileo-enabled devices to combine Galileo and GPS data for better positioning accuracy.
The European GNSS Agency (GSA) is responsible for operating the Galileo satellite navigation systems on behalf of the European Union. Galileo spacecraft are built by OHB System in Bremen, Germany, and the navigation payloads provided by Airbus-owned Surrey Satellite Technology in the United Kingdom.
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