Galileo launch postponed
Date: Thu, 08/21/2014 - 11:32
Arianespace has decided to postpone the launch of Soyuz flight VS09 carrying Europe's fifth and sixth Galileo satellites. This is due to unfavourable weather conditions over the Guiana Space Centre
Cutaway view of the Soyuz rocket fairing carrying the first FOC satellites
Image credited to ESA
Another launch date will be decided depending on the evolution of the weather conditions in Kourou.
The two satellites will join the four Galileo 'in-orbit validation' satellites already in space. Launched in pairs in October 2011 and October 2012, these four satellites - the minimum required to obtain a position fix - served to demonstrate and validate the space and ground segments of the system.
Galileo SATs 7-8 are scheduled to follow end of year 2014.
Then the constellation will be gradually deployed with six to eight satellites launched per year using a series of Soyuz and Ariane launches from Kourou, along with remaining elements of the ground network.
Galileo is Europe's own global satellite navigation system. It will consist of 30 satellites and their ground infrastructure.
The definition, development and In-Orbit Validation (IOV) phase of the Galileo programme were carried out by ESA and co-funded by ESA and the European Commission. This phase created a mini-constellation of four satellites and a reduced ground segment dedicated to validating the overall concept.
The four satellites launched during IOV are the nucleus of the constellation that will then be extended to reach the Full Operational Capability (FOC).
The FOC phase is fully funded by the European Commission. The Commission and ESA have signed a delegation agreement by which ESA acts as design and procurement agent on behalf of the Commission.