[Satellite TODAY 05-04-12] The European Commission (EC) will launch its next pair of ESA-procured Galileo satellites Sept. 28 on an Arianespace Soyuz rocket from French Guiana. EC Vice President Antonio Tajani and Arianespace Chairman and CEO Jean Yves Le Gall announced the launch May 2 in Brussels.
The Galileo satellites will join two other spacecraft already in orbit. The new launch will take place within a year of the flight of the first two Galileo In-Orbit Validation satellites, which reached orbit in October 2011.
Four navigation satellites represent the minimum needed for various satellite navigation applications, including the measurement of latitude, longitude and altitude and checking ranging accuracy. The EC said it would use the four Galileo IOV satellites to assess the performance of Galileo’s ground system.