Arianespace to Launch First Ten Galileo Satellites
[Satellite TODAY 01-27-10] The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected Arianespace to launch the first 10 Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellites in Europe’s planned Galileo satellite positioning system, Arianespace announced Jan. 26.
The contract, managed by ESA on behalf of the European Union, will see Arianespace launch the 10 FOC satellites into a circular orbit in pairs starting in December 2012. Arianespace will use five Soyuz launchers operated from the Guiana Space Center to orbit the satellites, which are currently being built by OHB Technology of Germany and Surrey Satellite Technology of the United Kingdom. Arianespace will also launch the first four operational satellites in the constellation, within the scope of the In Orbit Validation (IOV) program from Guiana starting at the end of 2010.
Arianespace and its subsidiary Starsem have already orbited the Giove-A and Giove-B satellites and have secured the frequencies allocated to the Galileo constellation.
Financial details of the contract were not disclosed.