Galileo pair arrive at spaceport for July launch

May 10, 2018  - By
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News from the European Space Agency

The next two satellites in Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system have arrived at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, ahead of their planned launch from the jungle space base in July.

Galileo satellites 23 and 24 left Luxembourg Airport on a Boeing 747 cargo jet on the morning of May 4, arriving at Cayenne – Félix Eboué Airport in French Guiana that evening.

Arrival at the Felix Eboué airport on April 5, 2018. (Photo: ESA)

Arrival at the Felix Eboué airport on April 5, 2018. (Photo: ESA)

They were then unloaded, still in their protective air-conditioned containers, and transported by truck to the cleanroom environment of the preparation building within Europe’s Spaceport.

This pair will be launched along with another two Galileo satellites, which are due to be transported to French Guiana later this month.

The quartet will be launched together on a customized Ariane 5 on July 25.

The Galileo System began Initial Services on Dec. 15, 2016, and a growing number of commercial devices are using Galileo today. Completion of the constellation should improve Galileo’s positioning accuracy further still.

One of two Galileo satellites being driven by truck to the Guiana Space Centre inside its container. Galileo satellites 23 and 24 left Luxembourg Airport on a Boeing 747 cargo jet on the morning of May 4, arriving at Cayenne – Félix Eboué Airport in French Guiana that evening. (Photo: ESA)

But Galileo satellites will continue to be launched into the future: a further 12 Galileo “Batch 3” satellites were ordered last June, supplementing the 26 built so far to provide further in-orbit spares, and replacements for the oldest Galileo satellites, first launched in 2011.

A steady stream of orbital spares, ready to replace satellites reaching the end of their operational lives, is essential to ensure Galileo continues operating seamlessly.

Looking further ahead, with the aim of keeping Galileo services as a permanent part of the European and global landscape, replacement satellites will be required by the middle of the next decade, offering improved performance and added features.

About the Author:


Tracy Cozzens has served as managing editor of GPS World magazine since 2006, and also is editor of GPS World’s sister website, Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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