Update on Galileo satellites’ irregular orbits

By on 9 September, 2014
Galileo FOC satellite

Artist’s view of Galileo FOC satellite. Copyright ESA–J. Huart, 2014.


The European Space Agency has confirmed that despite having been released on a lower and elliptical orbit instead of the planned circular orbit, Galileo satellites 5 & 6 are safely under control.

Operations are continuing smoothly for the satellites, with them each now having both sets of their solar arrays fully deployed and generating power.

The European ground teams deployed at ESA’s control centre ESOC in Darmstadt, Germany, in cooperation with satellite manufacturer OHB, confirm that both satellites are in a safe state, correctly pointing to the sun, properly powered and fully under control of the ESA-CNES integrated team.

Controllers are ready to proceed to the next stage of the launch and early operations phase activities.

ESA teams are investigating the possibilities of exploiting the satellites to maximum advantage, despite their non-nominal injection orbits and within the limited propulsion capabilities. Different scenarios will then be assessed before decisions are taken for a recovery mission.

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