SpaceX successfully launches Galileo GNSS satellites

April 30, 2024  - By
Photo: SpaceX

Photo: SpaceX

On April 27, 2024 the SpaceX Falcon 9 medium-lift launch vehicle launched into orbit Galileo satellites GM25 and FM27 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This was Falcon 9’s 20th and final launch.

The EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) confirmed in a statement that it is now in the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) stage of the two new L12 Galileo satellites. They will join the current Galileo operational fleet in the upcoming months. The latest batch of Galileo satellites are being operated by EUSPA and the Galileo Service Operator for the Early Orbit Phase (EOP).

The EUSPA operations team, through its Galileo Service Operations provider, took over the satellite operations as the satellites were separated from the launch vehicle and their automated initialization sequence started. Telemetry has been successfully acquired, their solar panels deployed and the batteries are charging, bringing the satellites to what is called the Holding Point, according to EUSPA.

The EOP is a vital step in a space mission, running through the gradual activation and testing of platform satellite components, once in orbit. From the Galileo Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, the dedicated LEOP team will navigate the satellites to their designated orbit within the coming days. Following rigorous in-orbit testing and commissioning, the satellites will integrate into Galileo’s operational constellation at 23,220 km.

The mission is a collaboration between the European Commission, which lead the management of Galileo; EUSPA, which manages operations and services with the support of the Galileo service operator (SpaceOpal); and the European Space Agency (ESA), which serves as the design authority, responsible for development.

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