Latest Mission updates

Ariane 5 December 1, 2017

Galileo satellites for Arianespace’s December 12 mission are ready for launcher integration

The four Galileo satellites are shown during final preparations

Final preparations for Flight VA240’s Galileo satellites are captured in these photos. At left, two of the four spacecraft are shown during integration with the dispenser system. In the center photo, all four satellites have been installed on the dispenser, enabling their transfer to the Ariane 5 Final Assembly Building (photo at right).

As preparations advance for Arianespace’s year-ending flight from the Spaceport in French Guiana, the mission’s payload of four Galileo navigation satellites is now ready to join up with its Ariane 5 launcher.

The spacecraft have been fueled and installed on their multi-payload dispenser system, clearing the way for transfer from the Spaceport’s S3B clean room to Ariane 5’s Final Assembly Building.

Designated Flight VA240, the upcoming mission will mark Arianespace’s second use of an Ariane 5 ES version to loft spacecraft for Europe’s Galileo global navigation system – following the first four-passenger launch in November 2016 on the heavy-lift launcher. This came after seven previous missions using the medium-lift Soyuz, which carried a pair of operational satellites each.

Flight VA240 at the service of a European initiative

Galileo is the European initiative to develop a global satellite navigation system. Under civilian control, it will offer a guaranteed, high-precision positioning service and features innovative technologies developed in Europe for the benefit of all citizens.

The European Commission holds overall responsibility for Galileo’s management and implementation, with the European Space Agency assigned design and development of the new generation of systems and infrastructure.

Each of the Galileo passengers for Flight VA240 weighs approximately 715 kg. and was built by OHB System in Germany, with U.K.-based Surrey Satellite Technology supplying the navigation payload. All four will be deployed into medium-Earth orbit by Arianespace.

Scheduled for a December 12 liftoff, Ariane 5’s mission with the four Galileo spacecraft will close out a busy year of launch activity for Arianespace.

The company has conducted 10 missions from French Guiana so far in 2017 – involving five launches of the heavy-lift Ariane 5, two with the medium Soyuz and three with the lightweight Vega.

  • Larger versions of the photos above are available for downloading in the Gallery.
Ariane 5 November 13, 2017

Ariane 5 and its Galileo satellites are prepared for Arianespace’s December 12 mission

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Integration of Ariane 5’s vehicle equipment bay and EPS upper stage
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