December 15, 2015

Next Soyuz mission from CSG to orbit two new Galileo satellites

Thursday 17 December, Soyuz will lift off from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana carrying the eleventh and twelfth Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellites of Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation constellation for the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission. It will be the third Soyuz launch from the Guiana Space Centre (CSG) this year.

For its thirteenth launch from the CSG, Soyuz is set to orbit the eleventh and twelfth FOC satellites for the Galileo constellation, following the previous two launched in September. Ultimately, Galileo is designed to give Europe an extremely precise, reliable and secure satellite navigation system.

Placed in a circular inclined orbit at an altitude of 23,222 kilometres, the two satellites—each weighing 717 kilograms—will be the eleventh and twelfth in the constellation. Their signals will be compatible and interoperable with existing satellite navigation systems, but one of Galileo’s key advantages is that it offers near-metric precision, and that is before the signal is further refined by additional processing.

The full Galileo constellation will comprise 26 satellites to provide unrivalled precision and serve an unprecedented range of applications. The 14 FOC satellites still to be deployed will be orbited by one further Soyuz flight from the CSG, carrying two satellites, and three Ariane 5 flights, each carrying four satellites.

Pascale Bresson    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39
Alain Delrieu    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 74 04
Julien Watelet    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 78 37