French Guiana welcomes the next two Galileo satellites for launch by an Arianespace Soyuz vehicle
The two Galileo satellite passengers for launch on Arianespace’s next Soyuz flight have now been delivered to French Guiana, enabling the start-up of payload preparations for this medium-lift mission.
Inside its protective shipping container, one of the two Galileo satellites is unloaded from a Boeing 747 cargo aircraft at French Guiana.
Transported by a Boeing 747 cargo jetliner, the pair arrived overnight at Félix Eboué International Airport near the capital city of Cayenne – after which these satellites, protected inside their shipping containers, were unloaded and subsequently moved by road to the Spaceport early this morning.
OHB System built the two Galileo spacecraft in Bremen, Germany as prime contractor. Their navigation payloads, which will generate the precision positioning measurements and services to users worldwide, were supplied by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. in Guildford, UK.
The Galileo program is Europe’s initiative for satellite navigation, providing a highly accurate global positioning system under civilian control – to consist of 30 satellites in total, along with European control centers and a worldwide network of sensor and uplink stations.
To deliver highly accurate positioning for most places on Earth, the complete Galileo constellation will be distributed along three circular medium Earth orbit planes at an operational altitude of 23,222 km., inclined 56 deg. to the equator.
The network’s complete operational and ground infrastructure will be deployed during Galileo’s Full Operational Capability phase, which is managed and funded by the European Commission, with the European Space Agency delegated as the design and procurement agent on the Commission’s behalf.
The upcoming mission, designated Flight VS11 in Arianespace’s numbering system, will mark the company’s fourth launch to date with Galileo spacecraft.