17.11.2016

Four Galileo FOC satellites successfully launched all at once

After separation from the fairing the Galileo-quartet is openly floating through the outer space Credits: ESA/P.Carril
After separation from the fairing the Galileo-quartet is openly floating through the outer space Credits: ESA/P.Carril

Kourou, November 17th 2016. Another four Galileo FOC* satellites developed and built by OHB System AG have been successfully launched on board  an Ariane 5 ES launcher, which lifted off from the Kourou space center in French-Guiana today at 14:06 CET.

Some four hours later they reached their planned orbit at an altitude of around 23,000 kilometers. Shortly after they sent their first “sign of life” to the CNES/ESOC  team at the Control Center in Toulouse. Over the next few days, these four satellites will be undergoing their preliminary function testing.

Ariane 5 liftoff VA233  Credits: ESA/S.Corvaja
Ariane 5 liftoff VA233 Credits: ESA/S.Corvaja

Executive board member, Dr. Ingo Engeln, responsible for Institutional Space Programs says: “Following the successful initialization, a stable connection with the satellites has been established and the solar panels have been unfolded and correctly aligned towards the sun. All the ten previously launched Galileo FOC satellites have already demonstrated their full functional and performance capabilities. The production in Bremen and the environmental tests in Noordwijk of the remaining eight satellites are proceeding according to our schedule.”

In the coming weeks, the Galileo control center in Oberpfaffenhofen will take over responsibility for controlling the four satellites on behalf of ESA and the European Commission. Later, also the payloads supplied by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) will be set in operation from the center in Oberpfaffenhofen.

“With regards to the rest of the satellites under production, we are still within schedule”, adds OHB Director for Navigation, Dr. Wolfgang Paetsch. “On the one hand this is due to the excellent cooperation between our teams and SSTL. On the other hand, we have in the meantime been able to refine our processes so that we could considerably optimise the time schedules during the production and the mandatory test campaigns. With our flexible production islands we are able to deliver two complete satellites every three months.”

Ariane 5 after liftoff VA233  Credits: ESA/S.Corvaja
Ariane 5 after liftoff VA233 Credits: ESA/S.Corvaja

OHB System AG being the industrial prime contractor is responsible for supplying 22 Galileo FOC navigation satellites. Today’s successful launch brings the number of OHB-built satellites in orbit to a new total of fourteen, with a further eight satellites to follow. OHB in Bremen has used seven islands in parallel for the production of the Galileo FOC satellites.

Each of the Galileo FOC satellites has been named after one of the children who won a painting competition held by the European Commission in 2011. The names of these four satellites are the following: Antonianna, Lisa, Kimberley and Tijmen.

For more details please visit ESA and Arianespace websites:

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Navigation/Galileo/Launching_Galileo/Launch_of_new_Galileo_navigation_quartet

http://www.arianespace.com/mission/ariane-flight-va233


* The phase up to attaining full operation capability (FOC) of the Galileo Programme will be funded by the European Union. The European Commission and the European Space Agency ESA have signed a joint transfer agreement which stipulates that the ESA will be the Authority acting on behalf of the Commission for Development and Procurement responsibilities. The opinions/illustrations shown here do not necessarily represent the position on this topic of the European Union or the ESA. Galileo is a registered trademark of EU and ESA in provision with HABM Application No. 002742237.