Astrium delivers further Galileo satellites to ESA
Following the successful acceptance review, Astrium has brought the third and fourth Galileo IOV (In-Orbit Validation) satellites to the European Space Agency (ESA) in Kourou, French Guiana.
The two satellites arrived in Kourou on the 7th and 17th of August. they are to be launched aboard a Soyuz rocket from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou. They will join the two Astrium IOV satellites already in space to complete the Galileo IOV (In Orbit Validation) configuration.
“The important, high-performance Galileo navigation system is taking concrete shape. With the successful entry into service of the first two satellites and the acceptance of the next two, Astrium has reached another important milestone,” says Evert Dudok, CEO of Astrium Satellites.
The two Galileo satellites were designed and built by a team led by Astrium GmbH in Ottobrunn, as prime contractor, who also oversaw the development and integration of the state-of-the-art navigation payload through Astrium Ltd. in Portsmouth. The satellites were assembled and tested in Rome by Thales Alenia Space Italia and subsequently flown to French Guiana in an Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft.
As soon as these two satellites join the first two in orbit, the four-satellite constellation will be activated in order to validate the Galileo system design. Four is the minimum number of satellites required for ultra-precise three-dimensional positioning.
Alongside overseeing the development of the Galileo IOV satellites, Astrium is also the largest industrial partner in Galileo Ground Segment and System Support activities. Astrium was awarded a €73.5 million contract by ESA on behalf of the EU to be the prime contractor for the Full Operational Capability (FOC) Ground Control Segment.
The provision of Ground Control Segment (GCS) facilities for the operation of the Galileo constellation is covered by the GCS contract and is managed by Astrium in the UK. In February 2012, Astrium also received a contract from ESA to adapt Ariane 5 for a Galileo mission involving the simultaneous launch of four satellites.