Galileo satellites cleared for launch

Upper Composite mated to Soyuz
9 October 2012

Europe’s next two Galileo satellites have received technical clearance for their launch this Friday. They are currently resting in place atop their Soyuz launcher.

Yesterday saw the three-stage Soyuz ST-B launcher moved horizontally to the launch pad on the 600 m-long railway.

It was then lifted into the vertical position to await the attachment of the Upper Composite – the combination of twin Galileo satellites, the dispenser holding them in place, the Fregat-MT upper stage and the protective fairing.

Soyuz VS03 Upper Composite
Upper Composite being moved to pad

Meanwhile, the satellites themselves underwent their formal Launch Readiness Review, after which the Upper Composite joined the Soyuz at the launch pad to be mated to the Soyuz that evening using the mobile gantry.

The Soyuz and Upper Composite will undergo a full launch dress rehearsal in the remaining days before the 18:15:00 GMT (20:15:00 CEST) launch on 12 October, including preparations for fuelling the vehicle, which will begin four and a half hours before liftoff.

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