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Nov 4, 2015

Galileo's Initial Services Will Start 2016 (According to ESA)

The launch of the 11th and 12th satellite in the series on 17 December will mean that the total number of Galileo satellites in space will have doubled within a year, setting the Galileo program on track for the start of initial services during 2016. (See the time table.)

Europe’s 11th and 12th Galileo satellites being unloaded from their Boeing 747 transporter after landing at French Guiana’s Cayenne-Félix Eboué Airport on 30 October 2015.

On 30 October 2015 the latest pair of Galileo navigation satellites arrived at French Guiana Space Port. Their arrival is the start of a busy schedule that will culminate with their launch on a Soyuz rocket on 17 December – the third Galileo launch of the year 2015.

Map of French Guiana

The satellites were unloaded from their Boeing 747 aircraft, still in their humming air-conditioned containers, straight onto waiting lorries for the last leg of their trip to the Spaceport. The containers were delivered to the S1A payload facility, where they were unboxed in cleanroom conditions.

Galileos 11 and 12 inside their protective containers within their transporter aircraft, during their 30 October 2015 flight from Luxembourg to French Guiana.

The two satellites began their journey the previous day when they left ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in Noordwik, the Netherlands, having completed a long phase of environmental testing to prove their readiness for flight. They were driven to Luxembourg Airport for a departure early the next morning.

Russian and European representatives in front of the Soyuz launch site.

At ESTEC the satellites were exposed in turn to every aspect of the launch and space environments, including noise, hard vacuum and wild extremes of temperature. Each satellite was also plugged into the entire worldwide Galileo ground network for days on end to check it works as planned.

One of the two Galileos being loaded onto a lorry for transport from Cayenne-Félix Eboué Airport to the Guiana Space Centre. Galileos 11 and 12 touched down in French Guiana on 30 October 2015 ahead of a planned 17 December launch.

The satellites’ arrival at the launch site is the last step in a long chain of production and testing that stretches across Europe. The satellites are built by OHB in Bremen, Germany, with their navigation payloads coming from Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd in Guildford, UK, both companies being supplied in turn by subcontractors across much of the continent.



/2/ YouTube video: "Cayenne, Félix Eboué Airport"

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