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Galileo Satellites to be launched on Ariane 6

on 09 October 2017

Four of Galileo’s navigation satellites will be launched on Ariane 6 between the end of 2020 and mid-2021. This is ESA’s first contract, signed on behalf of the European Commission, to use Europe’s newest launcher. Ariane 6 is bound to extend guaranteed access to space for Europe at a competitive price.

The navigation satellites weigh 750 kg and will be launched into their orbits at 23 222 km altitude by two Ariane 62 rockets. According to the contract, the final decision to use Ariane 62 will be taken at the end of 2018 according to the vehicle’s development schedule. The alternative is a Soyuz launcher. ­

Galileo is Europe’s own satellite navigation system, providing an array of positioning, navigation and timing services to Europe and the world. With 18 satellites now in orbit, Galileo began initial services on 15 December 2016, the first step towards full operations. Further launches will continue to build the constellation, which will gradually improve system performance and availability worldwide.

More details here.

Image credit: GSA