The two Galileo satellites are integrated for Arianespace’s next Soyuz mission from French Guiana
Both Galileo navigation satellites for Arianespace’s September 10 launch have been installed on their side-by-side dispenser system, marking another milestone in preparations for the upcoming mission from French Guiana with the company’s workhorse medium-lift Soyuz.
Operating in the Spaceport’s S3B clean room facility, mission team members mated the spacecraft pair with the dispenser, which will deploy the satellites by firing a pyrotechnic system for separation in opposite directions at the orbital insertion point.
Using an overhead crane, the Galileo FOC Flight Model 6 satellite is moved into position for installation on the dispenser. The Flight Model 5 spacecraft was previously integrated on the dispenser’s left side. Cover plates with the logo of prime contractor OHB System protect the satellites’ deployable solar panels during ground operations.
These are the fifth and sixth FOC (Full Operational Capability) spacecraft in Europe’s Galileo navigation program, and have been designated “Alba” and “Oriana” – continuing the naming process after children who won a painting competition organized by the European Commission in 2011.
With this step now complete, the satellite/dispenser combination is ready for integration on Soyuz’ Fregat upper stage, followed by the payload fairing encapsulation. This will create the “upper composite,” which is to be installed atop Soyuz once the vehicle has been moved to its Spaceport launch zone.
Galileo’s FOC phase is managed and funded by the European Commission, with the European Space Agency (ESA) delegated as the design and procurement agent on the Commission’s behalf.
Germany’s OHB System is industrial prime contractor to ESA for the FOC satellites, while Surrey Satellite Technology Limited – an independent British company within the Airbus Defence and Space group – supplies their navigation payloads that generate precise positioning measurements and services around the world.
The Galileo system will provide high-quality positioning, navigation and timing services under civilian control, and is designed for interoperability with the U.S. GPS and Russian Glonass global positioning systems.
Arianespace’s September 10 mission is designated Flight VS12 in the company’s launcher family numbering system, designating the 12th launch with Soyuz from the Spaceport.