European Commission Adds Additional Galileo Launch to Arianespace 2016 Schedule
[Via Satellite 02-26-2016] The European Commission (EC) is accelerating the deployment of the Galileo space segment by adding a Soyuz launch in 2016. As the program manager for Galileo, Europe’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), the EC decided to ramp up the launch cadence based on the confirmed availability of the satellites from manufacturer OHB.
Arianespace is now scheduled to conduct the launch of two additional Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellites in May 2016, within the scope of the company’s contract with the European Space Agency (ESA). This mission precedes Arianespace’s already scheduled launch of four Galileo satellites on an Ariane 5 during the fourth quarter of 2016.
With these two launches, six new Galileo satellites will be deployed in 2016, as in 2015, bringing the total number in the constellation to 18 by the end of the year. The completed GNSS constellation is to consist of 30 satellites, of which Arianespace has orbited 12.
Including this latest mission, Arianespace’s launch manifest for 2016 now comprises a total of 12 launches from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana. Completing all 12 missions this year would tie Arianespace’s record of 12 launches in a single year, set last year on Dec. 17, 2015 with a Soyuz mission for Galileo satellites 11 and 12.