[Via Satellite 09-11-2015] Two Full Operational Capability (FOC) Galileo satellites for Europe’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) launched Sept. 10 aboard an Arianespace Soyuz rocket. Galileo 9 and 10, also known as Alba and Oriana, entered their target orbit close to 23,500-km altitude approximately 3 hours and 48 minutes after liftoff.
Two further Galileo satellites are scheduled for launch by end of this year. OHB of Germany is building the satellites, with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) in the U.K. providing the navigation payloads. The completed constellation will consist of 30 satellites and their associated ground infrastructure.
For Arianespace, the mission was number eight of a planned 12 for the year, which would be a new record. The launch company is set to launch two more satellites with Soyuz this year, before switching to the Ariane 5 rocket in 2016 with a launch carrying four satellites. One more Soyuz and two more Ariane 5s will continue Galileo launches in 2017 to 2018.
“The deployment of Europe’s Galileo system is rapidly gathering pace”, said Johann-Dietrich Woerner, director general of ESA. “By steadily boosting the number of satellites in space, together with new stations on the ground across the world, Galileo will soon have a global reach. The day of Galileo’s full operational capability is approaching.”
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