[SatNews] The Galileo satellite passengers for Arianespace's March 27 Soyuz flight from French Guiana are now ready for integration into the medium-lift launcher's payload arrangement.
During activity earlier this week, these two Full Operational Capability (FOC) spacecraft were transferred from the Spaceport's S5A preparation hall,where they were fueled and mounted on their two-sided dispenser system, to the S3B facility for the integration process. The Spaceport's S3B facility has been configured for preparation of the payload arrangement on Soyuz launchers operated from French Guiana, with this component consisting of the mission's spacecraft payload, the Fregat upper stage and a fairing that provides protection during initial ascent through the atmosphere.
Designated VS11 in Arianespace's numbering system, the upcoming flight will be performed from the purpose-built launch site for Soyuz, which is located in the Spaceport's northern sector. The Galileo program is Europe's initiative for satellite navigation, providing a highly accurate global positioning system under civilian control—to consist of 30 satellites in total, along with European control centers and a worldwide network of sensor and uplink stations. Galileo's complete operational network and its ground infrastructure will be deployed during the program's FOC phase, which is being managed and funded by the European Commission. The European Space Agency has been delegated as the design and procurement agent on the Commission's behalf.
The two Galileo FOC spacecraft were built by OHB System in Bremen, Germany—their navigation payloads were supplied by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. in Guildford, UK.