Two flagship European space programmes will combine on 17 November, as Galileo navigation satellites are carried into orbit by an Ariane 5 rocket for the first time.
Using this customised vehicle allows four Galileos to be launched together. The total number of satellites in orbit will rise from 14 to 18 – the single biggest increase of any navigation satellite constellation from a single launch.
Liftoff of Ariane flight VA233 is scheduled for 13:06 GMT (14:06 CET, 10:06 local time) on 17 November.
This will mark the first time that ESA deploys four Galileo satellitesin one go. Usually, shepherding a single satellite through the first critical days in orbit is a demanding enough task. A combined team in Toulouse, France, from ESA and France’s CNES space agency will make contact, establish control and then see the quartet of satellites through their initial activities.
Two further Ariane 5 Galileo flights are planned to follow over the next two years, one each for the constellation’s remaining orbital planes.
Covering the launch
In cooperation with Arianespace, ESA TV provides broadcasters and the public with free live transmission via satellite and webstream of the launch. More information at:
ESA’s Portal will cover the launch live on www.esa.int, providing the web stream and updates of the launch.
The latest high-resolution images can be found at:
ESA’s Multimedia Gallery: http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Missions/Galileo
ESA Photo Library for Professionals: http://www.esa-photolibrary.com
Media image queries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, there will be updates on:
About the European Space Agency
The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.
ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.
ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 20 are Member States of the EU.
ESA has established formal cooperation with seven other Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.
By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.
ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.
Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.
Learn more about ESA at www.esa.int
For further information, please contact:
ESA Media Relations Office
Tel: +33 1 53 69 72 99