Galileos begin launcher hardware integration for Nov. 17 launch

November 1, 2016  - By
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All four Galileo satellites are mated to the dispenser in readiness for the upcoming launch.

All four Galileo satellites are mated to the dispenser in readiness for the upcoming launch.

The launch campaign for the Nov. 17 Galileo launch from the French Guiana spaceport has entered its latest phase of preparations, with the mission’s four satellite passengers being installed on their multi-payload dispenser system.

The activity — performed in the Spaceport’s S3B clean room — clears the way for the satellites’ integration as a single unit atop the heavy-lift Ariane 5, which was transferred earlier this week from the Launcher Integration Building to the Final Assembly Building, where payload integration is set to occur, according to launch contractor Arianespace.

Designated Flight VA233, the upcoming mission is scheduled for a Nov.17 liftoff from the Spaceport in French Guiana at precisely 10:06:48 a.m. local time, with the four Galileo satellites subsequently being deployed into circular orbit during a mission lasting just under four hours.

Flight VA233 will mark Arianespace’s first use of Ariane 5 to loft spacecraft for Europe’s Galileo global navigation system, following seven previous missions with the medium-lift Soyuz — which carried a pair of satellites on each liftoff. Flight VA233 is scheduled as the company’s ninth launch overall performed so far in 2016, as well as the sixth this year using the heavy-lift workhorse. Arianespace’s full launcher family is rounded out by the light-lift Vega.

Two of the four Galileo satellites after their installation on the multi-passenger dispenser system, with a third positioned for its integration. (Photo: Arianespace)

Two of the four Galileo satellites after their installation on the multi-passenger dispenser system, with a third positioned for its integration. (Photo: Arianespace)

Galileo is an important infrastructure program for Europe, creating a civil global satellite navigation system that provides highly accurate positioning with great precision and reliability.

It is funded and owned by the European Union, with overall responsibility for management and implementation held by the European Commission. Design and development of the new generation of systems and infrastructure has been assigned to the European Space Agency.

OHB System in Bremen, Germany, built the Galileo satellites, which are sized at 2.7 x 1.2 x 1.1 meters, while their navigation payloads were supplied by UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology.

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