Sunday, October 2, 2016

First Ariane 5 mission to loft Galileo navigation satellites

The first Ariane 5 mission to loft four global positioning satellites for Europe's Galileo navigation system has begun its build-up at a spaceport in French Guiana with a planned launch in November.

The mission will use an Arianespace Ariane 5 ES launcher designated as Flight VA233.

Arianespace has orbited 14 Galileo spacecraft, all lofted in pairs on seven previous missions utilizing the company's medium-lift Soyuz launcher - with the most recent conducted last May.

Europe's Galileo navigation system provides highly accurate global positioning services under civilian control. The European Commission funds and manages its Full Operational Capability phase, during which the network's complete operational and ground infrastructure will be deployed; with the European Space Agency designated as the system's design and procurement agent.

The Ariane 5 launcher will deploy the four Galileo satellites at a targeted release altitude of 23,222 kilometers.

The four spacecraft were built by OHB System in Bremen, Germany, with their navigation payloads provided by Surrey Satellite Technology in the United Kingdom.

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