Four Galileo satellites launch all at once

The four Galileo satellites developed and built by Germany’s OHB System 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 km. Shortly after they sent their first “sign of life” to the CNES/ESOC team at the Control Centre in Toulouse. Over the next few days, these four satellites will be undergoing their preliminary function testing.

OHB’s Dr Ingo Engeln, responsible for Institutional Space Programmes 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 centre in Oberpfaffenhofen.

“With regards to the rest of the satellites under production, we are still within schedule,” adds OHB navigationd director 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.”

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.


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