Two Galileo satellites are “fit” for their Arianespace Soyuz launch in May
The next two spacecraft to join Europe’s Galileo global satellite navigation system have made their initial contact with launcher hardware at the Spaceport in French Guiana, continuing the preparations for their liftoff on an Arianespace Soyuz vehicle in May.
During activity in the Spaceport’s S1A clean room facility, both spacecraft completed the initial “fit check” process, in which they were installed on the dispenser system that will deploy them in orbit during the May 24 flight.
The two FOC (Full Operational Capability) Galileo satellites were then removed, enabling their continued preparation and fueling. Prime contractor OHB System in Bremen, Germany produces the Galileo FOC spacecraft.
Arianespace’s mission with Soyuz – designated Flight VS15 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system – is an addition to the company’s busy 2016 launch manifest, which foresees up to 12 launches with its medium-lift Soyuz, heavy-lift Ariane 5 and lightweight Vega vehicles.
Another Arianespace launch at the service of Galileo is planned this year, using an Ariane 5 ES vehicle to loft four additional Galileo satellites during the fourth quarter. The six satellites deployed by Arianespace’s two missions in 2016 will bring total spacecraft in the Galileo constellation to 18 by year-end.