A quartet of Galileo satellites is prepared for launch on Ariane 5
The four spacecraft to be orbited on Arianespace’s first launch of Galileo navigation satellites by Ariane 5 have begun their processing at the Spaceport in preparation for a November liftoff from French Guiana.
One of the four Galileo satellites for Flight VA233 is removed from its protective shipping container during activity inside the Spaceport’s S5 preparation facility.
This milestone mission – designated Flight VA233 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system – follows the company’s previous launches of Galileo spacecraft in pairs aboard medium-lift Soyuz vehicles.
Flight VA233 is to utilize an Ariane 5 ES version of the heavy-lift workhorse equipped with a storable propellant upper stage. The vehicle will deploy its satellite passengers at a targeted orbit altitude of 23,222 km.
All four spacecraft were delivered this week by a chartered Boeing 747 cargo jetliner, which touched down at Félix Eboué Airport near Cayenne. They were transported by road to the Spaceport’s S5 payload processing facility.
Arianespace launches Galileo for Europe
Galileo is Europe’s civil global satellite navigation system, providing positioning with great precision and reliability. The program is funded and owned by the European Union, with overall responsibility for management and implementation held by the European Commission.
Design and development of the new generation of systems and the technical development of infrastructure are entrusted to the European Space Agency, while the Galileo spacecraft bus is built by OHB System in Bremen, Germany, and the navigation payloads provided by Surrey Satellite Technology in the United Kingdom.
To date, 14 Galileo satellites have been orbited by Arianespace Soyuz launchers on seven missions from French Guiana. With the inaugural Ariane 5 launch, this number will increase to 18. When complete, the Galileo system will consist of 24 operational satellites, along with the ground infrastructure for the provision of positioning, navigation and timing services.