Two more satellites for Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system will be launched on 27 March as deployment of the 30-satellite network continues to ramp up. Media are invited to take part in an audio briefing at 13:00 GMT (14:00 CET) on launch day.
Galileo 7 & 8 are scheduled to lift off at 21:46 GMT (22:46 CET, 18:46 local time) on 27 March from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on top of a Soyuz rocket. They are expected to become operational by mid-year, after in-orbit testing.
The launch was initially set for late last year but was suspended pending investigation of an anomaly in the Soyuz’ upper stage that left Galileo 5 & 6 stranded in an incorrect, lower orbit. The origin of the anomaly, a freezing of the hydrazine propellant line, has been corrected, allowing deployment to resume.
Galileo 5 was moved to a higher, functional orbit in November, and later passed its in-orbit testing.
The orbit of Galileo 6 was raised earlier this month, and the satellite is currently undergoing its testing.
The decision whether ultimately to use Galileo 5 & 6 in the constellation lies with the European Commission, as system owner.
Prelaunch media briefing
ESA’s Director of the Galileo Programme and Navigation-related Activities will hold an audio-only press briefing on 27 March at 14:00 CET.
Media interested in joining the briefing should request access information via email to ESA’s Media Relations Office at: firstname.lastname@example.org by end of business 26 March at the latest.
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 phase were carried out by ESA, and co-funded by ESA and the European Commission. This phase created a miniconstellation of four satellites and a reduced ground segment dedicated to validating the overall concept.
The Full Operational Capability 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) 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 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. Two other Member States of the EU, Hungary and Estonia, have signed Accession Agreements to the ESA Convention and will soon become new ESA Member States.
ESA has established formal cooperation with six 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 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:
ESA Media Relations Office
Tel: +33 1 53 69 72 99