Galileo constellation deployment: Arianespace to orbit two more satellites on a Soyuz launcher in May 2016
The European Commission, as the Program Manager of the Galileo Program, has decided to speed up the deployment of the Galileo space segment by adding a Soyuz launch in 2016, based on the confirmed availability of the satellites built by OHB.
The additional launch, planned for May 2016, will be carried out by Arianespace from the Guyana Space Center in French Guyana, within the scope of the company’s contract with the European Space Agency (ESA). It will orbit two FOC (Full Operational Capability) satellites, and precedes Arianespace’s already scheduled launch of four Galileo satellites on an Ariane 5 ES during the fourth quarter of 2016.
With these two launches, six new Galileo satellites will be deployed in 2016, as in 2015, bringing the total number in the constellation to 18 by the end of the year.
The European Union’s Galileo program aims to develop a complete global satellite navigation system, under civilian control. The system will comprise 30 satellites, of which 12 have already been orbited by Arianespace.
Including this latest mission, Arianespace’s launch manifest for 2016 now comprises a total of 12 launches from the Guyana Space Center.
Commenting on this decision, Arianespace Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Israël said: “We are very proud of this mark of confidence shown by the European Commission and ESA in Arianespace, a benchmark launch partner in the Galileo program. We will be orbiting six Galileo satellites in 2016, two with Soyuz and four with Ariane 5, clearly showing that our launcher family perfectly matches Europe’s requirements.”
Europe initiated, the Galileo program to develop a new global navigation satellite system (GNSS). Under civilian control, it will offer a guaranteed, high-precision positioning service. Galileo is the first joint infrastructure produced and financed by the European Union, which will be the system owner. It features the latest innovative technologies developed in Europe to benefit all citizens. Responsible for the Galileo program, the European Commission’s DG GROWTH has assigned its definition and procurement to the Navigation directorate of the European Space Agency.
Arianespace is the world’s leading satellite launch company. Founded in 1980, Arianespace deploys a family of three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, to meet the needs of both commercial and government customers, and has performed over 270 launches to date. Backed by its 20 shareholders and the European Space Agency, Arianespace is the only company in the world capable of launching all types of payloads into all orbits, from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana. As of February 25, 2015, Arianespace had carried out 228 Ariane launches, 39 Soyuz launches (13 at the Guiana Space Center and 26 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, via Starsem) and six Vega launches. Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, near Paris, and has a facility at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington D.C., Tokyo and Singapore.