by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) Sep 09, 2016
The four spacecraft to be orbited on Arianespace's first launch of Galileo navigation satellites by Ariane 5 have begun their processing at the Spaceport in preparation for a November liftoff from French Guiana.
This milestone mission - designated Flight VA233 in Arianespace's launcher family numbering system - follows the company's previous launches of Galileo spacecraft in pairs aboard medium-lift Soyuz vehicles.
Flight VA233 is to utilize an Ariane 5 ES version of the heavy-lift workhorse equipped with a storable propellant upper stage. The vehicle will deploy its satellite passengers at a targeted orbit altitude of 23,222 km.
All four spacecraft were delivered this week by a chartered Boeing 747 cargo jetliner, which touched down at Felix Eboue Airport near Cayenne. They were transported by road to the Spaceport's S5 payload processing facility.
Arianespace launches Galileo for Europe
Design and development of the new generation of systems and the technical development of infrastructure are entrusted to the European Space Agency, while the Galileo spacecraft bus is built by OHB System in Bremen, Germany, and the navigation payloads provided by Surrey Satellite Technology in the United Kingdom.
To date, 14 Galileo satellites have been orbited by Arianespace Soyuz launchers on seven missions from French Guiana. With the inaugural Ariane 5 launch, this number will increase to 18. When complete, the Galileo system will consist of 24 operational satellites, along with the ground infrastructure for the provision of positioning, navigation and timing services.
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com
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