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Next two Galileo satellites begin launch prep

April 7, 2016  - By

The latest pair of navigation satellites has reached Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). This starts a new Galileo launch campaign that will culminate in a May 24 launch of  the 13th and 14th satellites in the constellation.

A second launch is planned for this fall, with four satellites carried aloft on a customized Ariane 5 for the first time, bringing the count to 18 Galileo satellites in orbit by the end of the year.

The pair of satellites left ESA’s technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, on April 4, cocooned within protective air-conditioned containers. They were then driven to Luxembourg Airport, where they were loaded aboard a Boeing 747 cargo jet for a dawn takeoff the following morning.

The satellites touched down at Cayenne – Félix Eboué Airport in French Guiana at 11:15 a.m. local time on Tuesday. Still within their canisters, they were driven to the Guiana Space Centre and unboxed that evening within the cleanroom environment of the centre’s S1A payload preparation building.

A fit check is scheduled next, to ensure the satellites can be attached to the dispenser.

After landing in French Guiana, the 13th and 14th Galileo satellites, still within their canisters, were unloaded to be taken by road to the Guiana Space Centre. (Photo: ESA)

After landing in French Guiana, the 13th and 14th Galileo satellites, still within their canisters, were unloaded to be taken by road to the Guiana Space Centre. (Photo: ESA)

The 13th and 14th Galileo satellites touched down at Cayenne – Félix Eboué Airport in French Guiana. (Photo: ESA)

The 13th and 14th Galileo satellites touched down at Cayenne – Félix Eboué Airport in French Guiana. (Photo: ESA)

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