Orbit of Second Wayward Galileo Satellite Adjusted

March 11, 2015  - By

Editor’s Note: See the report from the European Space Agency here.

An official with the European Space Agency has confirmed that the sequence of maneuvers to adjust the orbit of the second of two Galileo satellites launched into a wrong orbit in August 2014  has been completed.

The orbit of the first satellite, known variously as GSAT0201, Galileo FOC-FM1 or Galileo 5 (with COSPAR ID 2014-050A and NORAD ID 40128) was raised during operations carried out in November, and the satellite began transmitting L-band signals on Nov. 29.

Maneuvering of the second satellite (GSAT0202, Galileo FOC-FM2 or Galileo 6, with COSPAR ID 2014-050B and NORAD ID 40129) began around Jan. 15. The procedure took somewhat longer than that for the first satellite as it also involved changing the mean anomaly of the satellite to be about 180° away from that of the first satellite.

The locations of the satellites in the Galileo constellation are shown in the accompanying figure. Satellites in green are transmitting a full complement of L-band signals. Galileo 4 (GSAT0104), one of the in-orbit validation satellites, suffered a power anomaly and only transmits on the E1 frequency. Galileo 5 is transmitting L-band signals but its orbit cannot be properly represented in the Galileo broadcast almanac. Galileo 6 has not started transmitting valid L-band signals yet.

Officially, all Galileo signals are currently declared unavailable during an extended period of testing following ground segment upgrades. However, signals continue to be monitored by stations participating in the International GNSS Service Multi-GNSS Experiment.



About the Author: Richard B. Langley

Richard B. Langley is a professor in the Department of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Fredericton, Canada, where he has been teaching and conducting research since 1981. He has a B.Sc. in applied physics from the University of Waterloo and a Ph.D. in experimental space science from York University, Toronto. He spent two years at MIT as a postdoctoral fellow, researching geodetic applications of lunar laser ranging and VLBI. For work in VLBI, he shared two NASA Group Achievement Awards. Professor Langley has worked extensively with the Global Positioning System. He has been active in the development of GPS error models since the early 1980s and is a co-author of the venerable “Guide to GPS Positioning” and a columnist and contributing editor of GPS World magazine. His research team is currently working on a number of GPS-related projects, including the study of atmospheric effects on wide-area augmentation systems, the adaptation of techniques for spaceborne GPS, and the development of GPS-based systems for machine control and deformation monitoring. Professor Langley is a collaborator in UNB’s Canadian High Arctic Ionospheric Network project and is the principal investigator for the GPS instrument on the Canadian CASSIOPE research satellite now in orbit. Professor Langley is a fellow of The Institute of Navigation (ION), the Royal Institute of Navigation, and the International Association of Geodesy. He shared the ION 2003 Burka Award with Don Kim and received the ION’s Johannes Kepler Award in 2007.