The next satellites in Europe's Galileo satellite navigation system will be launched on 21 August, ushering in the system deployment phase and paving the way for the start of initial services. Media are invited to take part in an audio briefing on Wednesday, 20 August.
Galileo SATs 5-6 are scheduled to lift off at 12:31 GMT (14:31 CEST, 09:31 local time) on 21 August from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana on top of a Soyuz rocket. They are expected to become operational, after initial in-orbit testing, in autumn.
The two satellites will join the four Galileo 'in-orbit validation' satellites already in space. Launched in pairs in October 2011 and October 2012, these four satellites - the minimum required to obtain a position fix - served to demonstrate and validate the space and ground segments of the system.
Galileo SATs 7-8 are scheduled to follow end of year 2014.
Then the constellation will be gradually deployed with six to eight satellites launched per year using a series of Soyuz and Ariane launches from Kourou, along with remaining elements of the ground network.
Pre-launch media briefing
ESA's Director of the Galileo Programme and Navigation-related Activities will hold an audio-only press briefing on Wednesday, 20 August, 13:00 CEST.
Media interested in joining the briefing should request access information via email to ESA's Media Relations Office at: email@example.com by 18 August at the latest.
Covering the launch
In cooperation with Arianespace, ESA TV provides broadcasters with free live videostream of the launch. Several stories have also been prepared, on Galileo. More information at: http://www.esa.int/esatv/Television
ESA's Portal will cover the launch live on www.esa.int, providing the videostream and updates of the launch.
The latest high-resolution images can be found at:
ESA's Multimedia Gallery: http://spaceinimages.esa.int/Images
ESA's Photo Library for Professionals: http://www.esa-photolibrary.com
Media image queries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
-Twitter: @ESA and the hashtag #Galileo
In addition, there will be updates on:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EuropeanSpaceAgency
- Google+: https://plus.google.com/+EuropeanSpaceAgency/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/ESA
Galileo is Europe's own global satellite navigation system. It will consist of 30 satellites and their ground infrastructure.
The definition, development and In-Orbit Validation (IOV) phase of the Galileo programme were carried out by ESA and co-funded by ESA and the European Commission. This phase created a mini-constellation of four satellites and a reduced ground segment dedicated to validating the overall concept.
The four satellites launched during IOV are the nucleus of the constellation that will then be extended to reach the Full Operational Capability (FOC).
The FOC phase is fully funded by the European Commission. The Commission and ESA have signed a delegation agreement by which ESA acts as design and procurement agent on behalf of the Commission.
Learn more about Galileo at: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Navigation
About the European Space Agency
The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe's gateway to space. It 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 20 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 18 are Member States of the EU.
ESA has Cooperation Agreements with eight other Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.
ESA is also working with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.
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.
ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.
Today, it 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.
For further information:
ESA Media Relations Office
Tel: + 33 1 53 69 72 99