26 April 2012 – The first two Galileo In-Orbit Validation (IOV) satellites built by Astrium, Europe’s leading space company, are working perfectly and now begin full in-orbit operations. The satellites successfully passed a series of in-orbit tests following their launch on the first Soyuz flight from the Guiana Space Centre, French Guiana on 21 October 2011.
Evert Dudok, CEO of Astrium Satellites, said: “Galileo with its unique performance is becoming reality and Astrium has now achieved another milestone as our first two satellites are working perfectly and are fully operational. These Astrium satellites in orbit serve as the blueprint for all subsequent Galileo satellites that are built in Europe. Once the IOV 3&4 satellites are launched Astrium will have laid the basis for the high performing overall Galileo system. Astrium and its subsidiaries are fully committed to Galileo, having a 50% work share of the upcoming Galileo satellites, developing the Ground Control Segment, and being involved in system activities.”
The satellites now fully qualified in orbit are the first two of four IOV satellites developed by Astrium for the Galileo system – Europe’s global navigation satellite system that will provide a highly accurate, guaranteed global positioning service under civilian control. The first two spacecraft will be joined in orbit later this year by the third and fourth IOV satellites, which are also being manufactured under Astrium’s leadership. Once in orbit, these four satellites will validate the unique and high performing Galileo system – four satellites are the minimum required to provide positioning information in three dimensions.
A team under the leadership of Astrium in Germany designed and manufactured the satellites, with Astrium in the UK developing and integrating the satellites’ state-of-the-art navigation payloads.
Along with leading the development of the Galileo IOV satellites, Astrium is significantly involved in the Galileo Ground Segment and System activities. Astrium recently signed a €73.5 million contract from ESA on behalf of the EU to be the prime contractor for the Galileo Full Operational Capability Ground Control Segment. The Ground Control Segment (GCS) contract covers the provision of the facilities for the operation of the Galileo constellation and is led by an Astrium team out of the UK.
The definition phase and the development and In-Orbit Validation phase of the Galileo programme were carried out by the European Space Agency (ESA) and co-funded by ESA and the European Commission.
The Full Operational Capability phase of the Galileo programme is managed and fully funded by the European Commission. The Commission and ESA have signed a delegation agreement by which ESA acts as design and procurement agent on behalf of the Commission.
Jeremy Close (Astrium UK) Tel: +44 (0)1 438 77 3872