15 October 2012

New Galileo Launch

12 October 2012: a Soyuz ST-B launcher from French Guyana in South America carried two new Galileo satellites into orbit! The twin satellites are fundamental to start the In-Orbit Validation (IOV) phase of the Galileo programme. IOV will test the advanced functionalities of the Galileo spacecrafts.
Update 13 October 2012: From ESA website "All the stages of the Soyuz vehicle performed as planned and the Fregat-MT upper stage released the Galileo satellites into their targeted orbit at close to 23 200 km altitude, 3 hours 45 minutes after liftoff. ... “Since the first launch a year ago, Galileo’s technology has proven itself in orbit,” said Didier Faivre, ESA’s Director of the Galileo Programme and Navigation-related activities. “Thanks to the satellites launched today, the testing phase will be completed, and clear the way for rapid full-scale deployment of the constellation. “By late 2014, 18 satellites are scheduled to have been launched, by which time early services to Europeans can begin.” Galileo’s Full Operational Capability (FOC) will be reached with 30 satellites (including the four IOVs and in-orbit spares) in 2018."