Saturday, March 28, 2015

Europe Successfully Launches Two Satellites in the Galileo Constellation

The liftoff of Soyuz flight VS11 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana took place as scheduled on 21:46:18 GMT (22:46:18 CET) on Friday 27 March 2015. The launcher was carrying Europe’s seventh and eighth Galileo navigation satellites, due to separate from their Fregat upper stage into their assigned orbit on 3 h 47 min after lift-off.   Credit: ESA-CNES-Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG-G.Barbaste

Arianespace has orbited the two latest satellites “Adam” and “Anastasia”, in the Galileo constellation, the seventh and eighth, for the European Commission, within the scope of a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA). The 11th Soyuz launch from the Guiana Space Center took place on Friday, Mar. 27 at 6:46 pm local time. All the Soyuz stages performed as planned, with the Fregat upper stage releasing the satellites into their target orbit close to 23 500 km altitude, around 3 hours 48 minutes after liftoff. The new pair will join the six satellites already launched, in October 2011, October 2012 and August 2014. “The deployment of the Galileo constellation is restarting with this successful launch,” said Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of ESA. “The tests in orbit of satellites 5 and 6 have demonstrated the quality and performance of the satellites, and the production of the following ones is well on track. Good news for Galileo.”

After an initial powered phase of Soyuz’ three lower stages, the launch included two burns of the Fregat upper stage – separated by a three-hour-plus ballistic phase – to place the two 700-kg.-class satellites at their targeted deployment point. Total payload lift performance for the flight was estimated at 1,597 kg. on a mission to a circular medium-Earth orbit.

Arianespace continues to deploy the landmark Galileo project, fulfilling its mission of guaranteeing independent access to space for Europe.

The first infrastructure jointly produced and financed by the European Union, Galileo incorporates the most innovative technologies, developed in Europe for the benefit of its citizens.



“With six new satellites expected to be in orbit by year’s end, we are now approaching the cruise mode of production, testing and deployment of the satellite constellation,” said ESA’s Director of Galileo and Navigation-related Activities, Didier Faivre.

Galileo will give Europe its own satellite navigation system, offering a host of applications. Under civilian control, it offers a guaranteed, high-precision positioning service, independent from other current systems. Galileo will deploy five services with global coverage, intended for distinct uses: general public, commercial, safety of life, public regulated and search & rescue. The initial services will be operational in 2016.

Galileo satellites in the Full Operational Capacity (FOC) series are built in Europe, under prime contractor OHB System (Bremen), with all payloads supplied by SSTL (Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, UK – a 99%-owned subsidiary of Airbus Defence and Space).

Shortly after the official announcement of the orbital injection of the two Galileo satellites, Stéphane Israël, Chairman and CEO of Arianespace, said: "Arianespace is very proud to be the primary partner in the Galileo program for the launch of this constellation. This evening's successful launch marks a new step forward in Europe's quest for independence in satellite navigation, a quest that is clearly reflected in our responsibilities and values: placing space at the service of citizens, especially in Europe," he said.

The liftoff of Soyuz flight VS11 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana took place as scheduled on 21:46:18 GMT (22:46:18 CET) on Friday 27 March 2015. The launcher was carrying Europe’s seventh and eighth Galileo navigation satellites, due to separate from their Fregat upper stage into their assigned orbit on 3 h 47 min after lift-off.  Credit: ESA-CNES-Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG-G.Barbaste
The liftoff of Soyuz flight VS11 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana took place as scheduled on 21:46:18 GMT (22:46:18 CET) on Friday 27 March 2015. The launcher was carrying Europe’s seventh and eighth Galileo navigation satellites, due to separate from their Fregat upper stage into their assigned orbit on 3 h 47 min after lift-off.  Credit: ESA-CNES-Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG-G.Barbaste

"I would like to thank the European Commission and the European Space Agency, for having renewed their confidence in Arianespace with the successful resumption of the Galileo constellation deployment. Thanks to the Roscosmos space agency and the Russians companies involved for ensuring this successful Soyuz mission from the Guiana Space Center. And thanks to all the teams at Arianespace, to all staff at the spaceport, and to our partner CNES/CSG for this very successful second launch of 2015. Arianespace is ready to continue the deployment of Galileo constellation with both Soyuz and Ariane 5 launchers in order to start the initial services in 2016," Israël added.

On Flight VS09, the fifth and sixth Galileo satellites were injected into an orbit lower than intended. Arianespace appointed an independent inquiry board and set up an action plan based on the board’s recommendations, which enabled Soyuz to resume launches from the Guiana Space Center beginning in December 2014, with the VS10 mission.

The success of today's VS11 mission follows in the footsteps of the action plan.

The next Soyuz launch for Galileo is now set for September 2015, on VS12.

A full system capability that includes an encrypted commercial service benefiting from 24 operational satellites and six spares is expected to be in place by 2020.

Credit: arianespace.comESA

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