First two operational satellites in the Galileo constellation (Galileo FOC M1, SAT 5-6), the European Union’s flagship program, successfully launched by Arianespace (VS 09 – Soyuz)
Arianespace has successfully launched two operational satellites in the Galileo constellation, the global satellite navigation system set up by the European Union. The launch took place on August 22 at 09:27 am (local time) from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s Spaceport. With this mission, carried out on behalf of the European Commission under a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA), Arianespace continues to guarantee independent access to space for Europe.
Arianespace, a Galileo program partner from the outset
Arianespace has been a major Galileo partner right from the start of the program. On October 21, 2011 and then on October 12, 2012, it launched the first four satellites in the Galileo constellation (IOV 1 & 2 and IOV 3 & 4) with Soyuz at the Guiana Space Center. In 2005 and 2008, the company’s subsidiary Starsem launched the experimental satellites, Giove-A and Giove-B, which secured the frequencies allocated to the constellation.
The two satellites launched on this mission weighing 714.3 and 715.3 kg, have been placed into a circular Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), at an altitude of 23,522 km. They will be inclined to the Earth’s equator by about 55 degrees.
These are the first two satellites in a series of 22 FOC (Full Operational Capability) models built by prime contractor OHB System, with the payloads being supplied by SSTL (Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, UK), a subsidiary of Airbus Defence and Space.
Following this launch, designated VS09, Arianespace will continue to deploy the 20 other FOC satellites using its Ariane 5 and Soyuz launch-vehicles. Ultimately, the 26 first satellites in the Galileo constellation (four IOV and 22 FOC) will be sent into orbit by Arianespace. The next Galileo launch is scheduled for the last quarter of 2014.
Shortly after the announcement of the orbital injection of the Galileo FOC-M1, SAT 5-6 satellites, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël said: “We are extremely proud to have sent the first two operational satellites in the Galileo constellation into orbit today. The Galileo program has just reached a major milestone: it is a great day for European space and a great day for Europe. On behalf of Arianespace, I would like to thank the European Commission and the European Space Agency for entrusting us with this symbolic mission for the benefit of European citizens. This latest successful launch once again shows that Soyuz provides services to our institutional customers in Europe that fully complement the services offered by our Ariane 5 and Vega launch-vehicles, providing guaranteed access to space. I would like to extend a big thank you to OHB for the two operational satellites – the first of many to come. I would also like to thank Roscosmos as well as the Arianespace teams for this ninth successful Soyuz launch from CSG. Lastly, I would like to express thanks to all of the industrial teams working at the base, all of the employees as well as the CNES-CSG for this seventh launch of 2014.”
Galileo, a new global navigation satellite system for Europe
Galileo is a European program, giving Europe its own satellite navigation system, which supports multiple applications. Under civilian control, Galileo will offer guaranteed, high-precision location services, independently of other global navigation satellite services (GNSS), in particular the United States’ GPS system. Galileo will offer five distinct global services : Open Service, Commercial Service, Safety-of-Life Service, Public Regulated Service, Search and Rescue Service.
A symbolic project for Europe, benefitting its citizens
Galileo, a strategic, symbolic project for Europe, is the first joint infrastructure produced and financed by the European Union, which will also be the owner. It features innovative technologies, such as the ultra-precision atomic clocks, developed in Europe, on each satellite.
The Galileo program will enable Europe to address the strategic, economic, industrial and societal challenges inherent in the fast-paced growth of space-based positioning and timing technologies. It will also support the creation of 15,000 to 20,000 jobs in the European Union.