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ESA Seeking to Make Best Use of Mislocated Galileo Satellites

By Caleb Henry | August 27, 2014
      Galileo ESA Soyuz

      Artist’s view of Galileo Satellites 5 & 6. Photo: ESA / J Huart

      [Via Satellite 08-27-2014] The European Space Agency (ESA), having established control of the latest two Galileo satellites launched Aug. 22 by an Arianespace Soyuz rocket into an unintended orbit, is preparing to continue using the satellites. Intended for a circular Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), the satellites experienced a launch anomaly placing them in an elliptical orbit at a lower altitude.

      ESA reports the solar arrays have been deployed on the first satellite, and will soon be deployed on the second. An ESA-CNES team and teams from satellite manufacturer OHB System are working together to keep the satellites in a safe state, pointing at the sun to remain properly powered.

      Launch provider Arianespace has organized an independent inquiry commission chaired by former ESA Inspector General Peter Dubock. The commission is expected to begin investigating the launch anomaly on Aug. 28, and present initial conclusions as soon as Sept. 8.