[SatNews] “The moment in which the launcher lifts off is an indescribable feeling..."
“Adam” and “Anastasia”, the two Galileo FOC* satellites number three and four developed and built by OHB System AG, were successfully launched on board a Soyuz rocket, which lifted off from the Kourou space center in French-Guyana Friday, March 27, at 22:46 hours CET.
They reached their planned orbit at an altitude of around 23,000 kilometers just under four hours later, shortly after they sent their first “sign of life” to the French Space Control Center of CNES in Toulouse. Over the next few days, the two satellites will be undergoing preliminary function testing.
Observing the launch live from Bremen, Marco R. Fuchs, CEO of OHB SE, said, “This was a very emotional moment for all of us who eagerly watched the launch and the activities of the next few hours in Bremen, Toulouse, Kourou and everywhere around the world. I am thrilled to have learned that both satellites have reached their target orbit. My thanks go out to the entire Galileo team for a job well done.”
Dr. Ingo Engeln, a member of OHB System AG’s Management Board, was present during the launch in Kourou, “The moment in which the launcher lifts off is an indescribable feeling. But with our responsibility for the satellites, the tension did not ease until a few hours after the launch when we knew that the satellites are functional in orbit.”
Aliac Jojaghaian, head of the OHB team in charge of the early operation phase at the CNES control center in Toulouse was very satisfied, “We are all very grateful that the launch was completed without a hitch this time. Both satellites are in the right orbit, they have the correct alignment, the solar panels have unfolded properly and we have contact with Adam and Anastasia.”
The Galileo control center in Oberpfaffenhofen will be assuming responsibility for Anastacia on April 5, 2015 and for Adam on April 6, 2015 on behalf of ESA and the European Commission. Later, the ground station in Fucino takes over the commissioning of the payload. They will be followed by a further 18 Galileo FOC navigation satellites for which OHB is also the responsible industrial prime contractor.
Background information on Galileo FOC
The first Galileo FOC satellite named Doresa reached its corrected orbit at the end of November 2014. Both the navigation payload and the search and rescue service payload underwent intensive testing in the following weeks, since passing all tests successfully.
The second Galileo FOC satellite has also reached its corrected orbit where the navigation payload can be tested. This involved the gradual lifting of the satellite over a distance of 3,500 km combined with a transition to a more circular orbit for the satellite. This operation commenced in mid-January and was successfully completed six weeks later after a total of 14 individual maneuvers.
The second FOC satellite Milena is currently undergoing the same payload testing as the first one and has so far successfully passed all tests.
Status of Galileo-FOC-Integration and Tests
The fifth Galileo FOC has already completed all function, performance and environmental impact testing, while number six has passed all function and performance tests and is scheduled for environmental impact testing over the next few weeks.
OHB in Bremen is currently working in parallel on the assembly of the Galileo FOC satellites at a total of seven production islands.
*The FOC (full operational capability) phase of the Galileo program is being funded and executed by the European Union. The European Commission and the European Space Agency ESA have signed a contract under which ESA acts as the development and sourcing agency on behalf of the Commission. The view expressed here does not necessary reflect the official position of the European Union and/or ESA. “Galileo” is a registered trademark owned by the EU and ESA and registered under OHIM application number 002742237.