[Via Satellite 12-18-2015] Arianespace completed its 12th launch of 2015 on Dec. 17, delivering Galileo satellites 11 and 12 into Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) at approximately 23,500km using a Soyuz rocket from French Guiana. The mission is the launch company’s last for the year, having conducted six Ariane 5 launches, three Vega launches and now three Soyuz, representing the most launches the company has conducted in a year.
Arianespace also logged its highest order intake in one year of nearly 2.4 billion euros, and launched more than 53 metric tons into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO), the largest total payload mass injected into that orbit in a year.
“With today’s launch, Europe has doubled the number of its Galileo satellites in orbit in just nine months,” said Jan Woerner, director general of the European Space Agency (ESA). “Along with the ground stations put in place around the globe, this brings Galileo’s completion within reach. Initial Galileo services are scheduled to begin within next year, which proves the importance of this wise investment.”
The European Commission is funding and executing Galileo’s Full Operational Capability (FOC) phase, with ESA designated as the system’s development and sourcing agent. Prime contractor OHB System in Bremen, Germany produced the satellites, and U.K.-based Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) provided the onboard payloads.
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