Galileo: satellites 11 and 12 launched successfully

Kourou  17 December 2015

Satellites 11 and 12 of the European Galileo navigation programme were launched successfully by Arianespace at 12:51 (8:51 local time) aboard a Soyuz rocket. The launch took place from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guyana.

Upon putting them into orbit, the new satellites will reach their final orbit at a distance of 23,222 kilometres from Earth.

Italy has a key role in the development of the Galileo programme through the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and through the involvement of national industry, in particular of the Finmeccanica group with Telespazio, Thales Alenia Space, and Selex ES.

In particular, Telespazio plays a leading role in Galileo, having created at the Fucino Space Centre one of the two Control Centres that manage the constellation and the programme mission. In addition, through Spaceopal - joint venture company formed with DLR/GfR - Telespazio is responsible for mission operations and the related security activities, providing the management and delivery of the navigation message.

 After launch, the Galileo Control Centre in Fucino is involved in the IOT activities (In Orbit Test) of the programme, to verify the functionality and performance of the payload on board the satellites, and the subsequent addition of the new satellite to the mission operations.

 During the launch operations, an important role was played by Telespazio France, which supports the CNES and Arianespace from Toulouse and Kourou in managing the Launch Centre in Guyana, in the launch and putting the satellites into orbit.
 Telespazio is involved in the validation phase of the programme's early services and in the implementation of applications based on Galileo, which will encourage the development and dissemination of innovative services in multiple sectors: transport, telecommunications, geodesy, oil exploration, and mining.

 The Galileo programme is a collaboration of the European Union with the European Space Agency (ESA) to improve the technological independence of Europe and to define international standards for global satellite navigation systems. The purpose of the programme is the creation of a satellite navigation system capable of providing a reliable and high-precision global positioning service for all types of civilian applications, including aircraft systems, including remote piloted aircraft (drones). Once completed, the Galileo constellation will consist of 30 satellites (27 operational and 3 spares), although 24 will be enough to make the European satellite navigation network fully operational.

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