Satellites 13 and 14 launched successfully
Satellites 13 and 14 of the European Galileo navigation programme were launched successfully by Arianespace at 10:48 CET (5:48 local time) aboard a Soyuz rocket. The launch took place from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
Upon putting them into orbit, the new satellites will reach their final orbit at a distance of 23,222 kilometres from Earth.
By the end of 2016 an Ariane 5 ES launcher version will carry four additional satellites for the Galileo constellation.
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 Finmeccanica-Leonardo, Telespazio and Thales Alenia Space.
In particular, Telespazio plays a leading role in Galileo, having setup 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 satellites to the mission operations.
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).