Starsem successfully launches second Europe navigation satellite
The Soyuz launch vehicle lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan right on schedule at 4:16 am local time on Sunday, April 27 (0:16 am Paris time).
Starsem and its Russian partners confirmed that the Fregat orbital stage accurately injected the European Space Agency’s Giove-B satellite into its circular Medium Earth Orbit (MEO). The Fregat stage was ignited three times in succession to carry out this mission, placing Giove-B into orbit 3 hours and 45 minutes after lift-off. It was the 1732nd launch of a rocket from the Soyuz family, the 3rd Soyuz mission in 2008 and the 21st successful Starsem launch.
The Giove-B satellite will be used to validate the critical technologies now under development for Galileo, and to secure the frequencies allotted to this European navigation system by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The satellite weighed about 500 kg at launch and was built by Astrium GmbH (Germany) as satellite prime, with Thales Alenia Space (Italy) as sub-contractor for satellite assembly, integration and test.
Today’s launch was the sixth Starsem mission for the European Space Agency, following the two Cluster II launches, Mars Express, Venus Express, and Giove-A, the first European navigation satellite.
With the introduction of Soyuz at the Guiana Space Center (CSG), this famed Russian medium-class launch vehicle will become an integral part of the European launch vehicle fleet, together with the heavy-lift Ariane 5 and the lightweight Vega. To be offered to the commercial market, the Soyuz at CSG is Europe’s reference medium-class launch vehicle for governmental and commercial missions.
Starsem is the Soyuz Company, bringing together all key players involved in the production, operation and international commercial marketing of the world’s most versatile launch vehicle. Shareholders in Starsem are Arianespace, Astrium, the Russian Federal Space Agency and the Samara Space Center.