October 21, 2011

One Soyuz launcher, two Galileo satellites.

The first pair of satellites for Europe's Galileo global navigation satellite system has been lofted into orbit by the first Russian Soyuz vehicle ever launched from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana in a milestone mission.

The Soyuz VS01 flight, operated by Arianespace, started with liftoff from the new launch complex in French Guiana at 10:30 GMT (12:30 CEST) on 21 October.
All of the Soyuz stages performed perfectly and the Fregat-MT upper stage released the Galileo satellites into their target orbit at 23 222 km altitude, 3 hours 49 minutes after liftoff.
Read More @ ESA

What is Galileo?

Galileo is Europe’s own global navigation satellite system, providing a highly accurate, guaranteed global positioning service under civilian control. It is inter-operable with GPS and Glonass, the two other global satellite navigation systems.
By offering dual frequencies as standard, Galileo will deliver real-time positioning accuracy down to the metre range. It will guarantee availability of the service under all but the most extreme circumstances and will inform users within seconds of any satellite failure, making it suitable for safety-critical applications such as guiding cars, running trains and landing aircraft.

Read More @ ESA

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