French launch provider Arianespace has deployed four Galileo Satellites for the European Space Agency (ESA). Yesterday’s launch was the 99th Ariane 5 mission and the 10th in service of Europe’s Galileo program.
“With this fourth launch of the year, and the third with Ariane 5, Arianespace has proudly accomplished its 10th mission for the Galileo program.” Said the Chief Executive Officer for Arianespace, Stéphane Israël. “Today’s mission brings the number of satellites launched by Arianespace for this European constellation to 26 since 2011.”
The Ariane 5 rocket launched from the Guiana Space Center at 11:25 GMT (07:25 EDT) on Wednesday July 25. Following a 20-minute coast period, the four Galileo satellites were separated successfully from the rocket’s upper stage in pairs spaced 20 minutes apart. The satellites then deployed their power-generating solar panels and reported nominal operations to the control team in Toulouse, France.
With the deployment of the newest additions, the Galileo fleet has grown to 26 individual satellites, with 22 having been launched within the last four years. Director of navigation at the European Space Agency, Paul Verhoef has confirmed that with yesterday’s launch, the Galileo program remains on track to become fully operational by 2020.
The 100th Ariane 5 mission is currently scheduled for September 5. The mission will launch the Azerspace 2/Intelsat 38 satellite. It is the product of a joint venture between Intelsat and Azercosmos OJSCo first announced in February 2015. It will provide continuity of service for the Intelsat 12 satellite as well as offering Intelsat with capacity to extend their reach across Asia, Eastern and Central Europe, and Africa. For Azercosmos OJSCo, the new satellite will offer enhanced coverage and capacity.