The Galileo satellites 27 and 28 were successfully launched on-board of a Soyuz carrier earlier on December 4 at 21:19, Kourou time – or on December 5 at 01:19 CET from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guyana.
Earlier today, the 46m tall Soyuz launcher VS-26, successfully lifted off from Kourou, French Guyana, for a nearly four-hour voyage till the separation of the Galileo satellites 27-28 from the rocket. The Galileo Launch 11 is the first of a series of 6 launches (with two satellites per launch), which will allow Galileo to deliver greater accuracy to existing users and open up new market opportunities.
The Galileo satellites were ejected from the upper stage of the launcher at 05:09 CET. They are currently managed from the Galileo Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen in Germany by the EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) and its Galileo Service Operator team led by SpaceOpal, in charge of the satellite operations after separation from the Launch vehicle. It is part of the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP)
Relive the launch here
The Launch and Early Orbit Phase is one of the most exciting and important phases of a space mission, as it handles the launch of the spacecraft its travel into the correct orbit, gradually switching on the spacecraft platform to test the core-satellite elements. Over the following days, the EUSPA and SpaceOpal team will be manoeuvring the satellites until the start of the drift phase which should last around 3 weeks till the Drift Stop and Fine Positioning Manoeuvres (DSFP), when the satellites will be placed into their home orbit at 23 220 km.
Upon commissioning and rigorous in-Orbit tests, the spacecraft will enter into the Galileo service provision.
“Today we can proudly celebrate another milestone achieved by the European Union’s most ambitious and largest industrial project, Galileo’’ says EUSPA Executive Director, Rodrigo da Costa. “The successful addition of satellites 27-28 to the world’s most precise positioning system is a very important step for our more than 2 billion users around the world and is the result of a robust collaboration between us, the European Commission, the European Space Agency (ESA), and our industrial partners. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all the parties involved, who are working relentlessly to ensure the success of the mission.”
Watch Rodrigo da Costa's message here.
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