First Payload Ready for Next Batch of Galileo Satellites

April 19, 2012  - By

These payload panels for the first Galileo Full Operational Capability satellite are undergoing
final testing in the Assembly Integration Test hall at Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. in
Guildford, UK, in April 2012 before being boxed up for shipment to prime contractor OHB in Germany.

The first of 14 Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) navigation payloads has been shipped from Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. in the United Kingdom to prime contractor OHB System AG in Bremen, Germany, according to the European Space Agency. The payload, which provides Galileo’s precision positioning measurements and services to users, will then be added to the waiting satellite platform.

“The payload for the fifth satellite in the Galileo constellation is ready,” said Didier Faivre, ESA’s director of the Galileo Programme and Navigation-related Activities. “While the next two satellites to be launched are currently undergoing testing, the next ones are being built. Another important step forward for the programme was made today.”

The SSTL payload is engineered to provide all Galileo navigation services, and is based on European atomic clocks, navigation signal generators, high-power amplifiers and antennas. “The delivery of our first Galileo payload is an important milestone towards achieving full satellite qualification at the end of the year,” commented Matt Perkins, SSTL CEO.

The first two Galileo satellites entered orbit October 21, 2011, with two more due at the end of this summer. These initial satellites carry payloads built by Astrium UK in Portsmouth, with Thales Alenia Space in Italy integrating them with their satellite platforms.

The new satellites are the follow-up batch of Galileo satellites, planned to begin launches in 2014. Once all 14 are in orbit, the 18-satellite Galileo constellation will achieve Initial Operational Capability and will be able to provide initial navigation services — the full range of services will be available once all 30 satellites are in place in 2018.

In addition to these first 14 FOC satellites, the OHB–SSTL consortium was awarded a contract to build a further eight satellites for the Galileo system in February this year.

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