On 20 October the first Soyuz launch from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana will deliver the first two satellites of the Galileo constellation into orbit – and a new European adventure truly begins.
The two GIOVE satellites, launched in 2005 and 2008, secured the Galileo frequencies and tested new technologies for satellite navigation. Now ESA, the European Commission and its industrial partners are getting ready for the first launch of Galileo’s next phase.
Two ‘In-Orbit Validation’ satellites are being launched this year and two more in 2012. These will form the orbital nucleus of the operational Galileo system, a means of proving the design of Europe’s own satnav system while serving as working satellites in their own right.
This video reveals the process of assembling and testing these first satellites at the Thales Alenia Space Italy facility in Rome, in advance of their shipping to the launch site.