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Launch of the seventh and eighth Galileo satellites

on 26 March 2015

Tomorrow, 27 March, a Soyuz launcher will send on orbit a new pair of Galileo satellites part of Europe’s navigation system. Designated Soyuz Flight VS11 in Arianespace’s numbering system, Soyuz’ 11th launch from the Spaceport in French Guiana is planned for an evening liftoff on March 27 at precisely 18:46 Kourou time, 23:46 Romania time.

Soyuz Flight VS11’s passengers are the latest FOC (Full Operational Capability) satellites in the Galileo program, which will contribute to creating a European-operated space-based navigation system.

With the launch of two more satellites, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Union (UE) will be fully into the deployment phase.

Arianespace’s medium-lift launcher will carry out a nearly 3h48m mission to place the Galileo satellites into a targeted circular orbit, at an altitude of 23 522 km, inclined 55.04° degrees to the equator.

The Galileo Satellites navigation system stays on track after the successful in-orbit validation and more recently the news that the satellites launched on the wrong orbit last August appear to be working correctly.

Providing a highly accurate global positioning system under civilian control, the complete Galileo constellation will consist of 30 satellites in total, along with European control centers and a worldwide network of sensor and uplink stations.

The European Commission is managing and funding Galileo’s FOC phase – during which the network’s complete operational and ground infrastructure will be deployed. The European Space Agency has been delegated as the design and procurement agent on the Commission’s behalf.

Image credit: ESA/CNES/ARIANESPACE-Service Optique CSG