Launch vehicle elements for Arianespace’s third Ariane 5 flight at the service of Europe’s Galileo global satellite navigation system, which is planned for July, have been delivered to the Spaceport.
These components, including the core cryogenic stage, arrived in French Guiana aboard one of two sea-going roll-on/roll-off ships that transport launcher hardware from Europe to the South American launch site for Arianespace’s family of launch vehicles.
The mission — designated Flight VA244 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system — will orbit four more Galileo FOC (Full Operational Capability) spacecraft, to be deployed into MEO from a dispenser system on the Ariane 5 ES launcher version. Galileo is designed to provide a new European global satellite navigation system with precision positioning services under civilian control.
As Europe’s own global navigation satellite system, Galileo is operated under civilian control, offering guaranteed high-precision positioning around the world. Its initial services began in December 2016, allowing users equipped with Galileo-enabled devices to combine Galileo and GPS data for better positioning accuracy.bThe European GNSS Agency (GSA) is responsible for operating the Galileo satellite navigation systems on behalf of the European Union. This authority was transferred to GSA from the European Space Agency (ESA) in July of 2017.
Galileo spacecraft are built by OHB System in Bremen, Germany, and the navigation payloads provided by Airbus-owned Surrey Satellite Technology in the United Kingdom. Flight VA244’s four passengers are located at the Spaceport, where they are undergoing their own pre-flight preparations. The satellites were delivered to French Guiana via cargo aircraft, then transported by road to the Spaceport.
Arianespace already has launched 22 Galileo spacecraft, with eight being orbited on two previous Ariane 5 missions (Flights VA233 and VA240 in November 2016 and December 2017, respectively), and the others lofted by seven medium-lift Soyuz vehicles carrying two satellites each. Ariane 5 is delivered to Arianespace by ArianeGroup as production prime contractor.