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Galileo 5 and 6 Operating Smoothly Despite Wrong Orbit

August 28, 2014  - By
Image: GPS World

Galileo satellites 5 and 6 are safely under control, despite having been released on a lower and elliptical orbit instead of the expected circular orbit on August 22. Each satellite’s set of solar arrays is fully deployed and generating power, and operations continue smoothly.

The European ground teams deployed at the European Space Agency’s (ESA)  control centre ESOC in Darmstadt, Germany, in cooperation with satellite manufacturer OHB, confirm that both satellites are in a safe state, correctly pointing to the sun, properly powered, and fully under control of the ESA-CNES integrated team.

Controllers are ready to proceed to the next stage of the launch and early operations phase activities.

In parallel, ESA teams are investigating the possibilities of exploiting the satellites to maximum advantage, despite their non-nominal injection orbits and within the limited propulsion capabilities. Different scenarios will then be assessed before decisions are taken for a recovery mission, according to ESA.

After the separation of the two Galileo satellites launched August 22, ongoing analysis of the data provided by the telemetry stations operated by the ESA and the French space agency CNES showed that the satellites were not in the expected orbit.

An independent inquiry commission was appointed August 25 by Arianespace, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission to investigate the anomaly.

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