Two satellites arrive for Arianespace’s next Galileo mission from French Guiana
The next pair of Galileo satellites to be orbited by Arianespace for Europe’s global satellite navigation system have arrived in French Guiana, positioning them to be readied for a May liftoff aboard a Soyuz launcher from the Spaceport.
Arriving yesterday on a 747 cargo jetliner at Félix Eboué Airport – which is located southwest of French Guiana’s capital city, Cayenne – the satellites were then readied for transport by road to the Spaceport.
The medium-lift mission, designated Flight VS15 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system, is an addition to the company’s 2016 manifest and will loft two FOC (Full Operational Capability) Galileo satellites.
Flight VS15 will precede Arianespace’s launch of four Galileo satellites during the fourth quarter of 2016, to be performed by a heavy-lift Ariane 5 ES vehicle. The six satellites deployed by these two missions will bring total spacecraft in the Galileo constellation to 18 by year-end.
Galileo’s FOC phase is being funded and managed by the European Commission, which has designated the European Space Agency as the system’s design and procurement agent.
Arianespace’s most recent mission at the service of Galileo was Flight VS13, which utilized a Soyuz launcher to loft two of the navigation satellites last December. Prime contractor OHB System in Bremen, Germany produces the Galileo FOC satellites.