Satnews Daily
December 16th, 2015

Arianespace Gets The Green Light For Last Launch Of The Year To Send Up Two Galileos

[Satnews] Authorization has been given for tomorrow's Arianespace Soyuz launch from French Guiana, providing the "green light" for this medium-lift mission that will further augment Europe's Galileo global navigation satellite system.

The approval was granted today after the regular pre-launch review for Arianespace flights, which confirmed the readiness of Soyuz and its payload of two Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) spacecraft, the launch site and associated infrastructure at the Spaceport, as well as the  network of downrange tracking stations.
This December 17 mission, designated VS13 in Arianespace's numbering system, will be performed from the Spaceport's purpose-built ELS launch facility for Soyuz. Liftoff is scheduled at precisely 8:51:56 a.m. local time in French Guiana, with the two Galileo satellites to be deployed during a flight lasting approximately 3 h, 47 min.

Produced by OHB System, these relay platforms, which are the constellation's 11th and 12th satellites for launch, weigh some 717 kg. each and will operate in medium-Earth orbit. Their navigation payloads were supplied by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.

The Galileo navigation system provides highly accurate global positioning services under civilian control. The European Commission is funding and managing its FOC phase, during which the network's complete operational and ground infrastructure will be deployed; with the European Space Agency designated as the system's design and procurement agent.

Capping off a record year for Arianespace, Flight VS13 will be the company's 12th and final mission in 2015 using its full launch vehicle family, which is made up of the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega.