Europe’s latest Galileo spacecraft arrive at the Spaceport for Arianespace’s next Soyuz mission
The Spaceport continues to “buzz” with activity as two passengers for another Arianespace mission have arrived in French Guiana, maintaining the sustained pace of operations to meet the company’s busy 2015 launch manifest.
The ninth and 10th spacecraft for the European Commission’s Galileo satellite navigation program – which will be lofted by Arianespace’s Soyuz Flight VS12 on September 10 – have arrived at the Spaceport. They were airlifted from Europe to Félix Eboué International Airport near Cayenne, French Guiana via a cargo aircraft, and then transported by road to the Spaceport’s S1A clean room facility.
The two Galileo spacecraft are currently undergoing checkout at the Spaceport – where simultaneous preparations are underway for four missions across Arianespace’s complete launch vehicle family. In addition to Flight VS12, payload and launch vehicle activity is ongoing for two heavy-lift Ariane 5 vehicles (Flight VA225 on August 20 and Flight VA226 in September), as well as Flight VV06 with the lightweight Vega in late November.
Galileo is the European satellite navigation initiative that will provide high-quality positioning, navigation and timing services to users across the world through a constellation of 24 satellites and six spares, as well as associated ground infrastructure.
As part of Galileo’s full operational capability (FOC) phase – which is managed and funded by the European Commission, with the European Space Agency delegated as the design and procurement agent on the Commission’s behalf – these two spacecraft were built by prime contractor OHB System in Bremen, Germany. Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. in Guildford, UK supplied their navigation payloads that will generate precise positioning measurements and services.