Source: ESA PR 16-2011
Two Galileo In-Orbit Validation satellites. Credit: ESA
The European Space Agency, Arianespace and the European Commission announced today that the launch of the first two satellites of Europe's global navigation satellite system is planned to take place on 20 October.
This will be the first of a series of Galileo satellite launches by Arianespace from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.
The announcement follows a detailed review held on 12 May, under the chairmanship of the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA) and with the participation of Arianespace and industrial prime contractors, which concluded that the space and ground elements will be ready for a launch in October.
The two Galileo satellites will be deployed using a Soyuz launcher. The October launch will mark the inaugural Soyuz flight from its new launch facilities in French Guiana, built in the framework of a programme of the European Space Agency.
Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of ESA, pointed out the significance of this launch: "The October launch will be a perfect example of European and international cooperation. On one side we will have the first operational Galileo satellites in orbit, resulting from the cooperation between the European Union and ESA. (read more)