Early operations

Galileo satellite in orbit

After the satellites are launched their Launch and Early Operations Phase (LEOP) begins.

The approximately week-long LEOP commences with crucial activities such as separation from their Fregat-MT upper stage - occurring about four hours after launch – orienting the satellites and the deployment of the satellites’ solar arrays, proceeding into the gradual activation of platform systems.

Controlling Galileo

LEOP for Galileo satellites 5 and 6 will be run from ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, operated by a joint operations team from ESA and the French space agency CNES.

LEOP for the first four Galileo satellites was performed from the Toulouse LEOP Control Centre in France, operated by the same joint team. Future launches will see LEOP taking place from both locations on an alternating basis.

Once LEOP is completed, the satellites are handed over to the Oberpfaffenhofen Galileo Control Centre near Munich in Germany, with navigation payload testing for the satellites becoming the responsibility of ESA’s Redu ground station for the In-Orbit Test campaign.

Last update: 18 July 2014

Copyright 2000 - 2014 © European Space Agency. All rights reserved.