ESA launches Galileo satellites with a reschedule. See Live and the latest updates here

03/12/2021

UPDATE: (08:06 p.m Los Angeles time on 3 December 2021):

The lit of is expected at 1:30 CET on 4 December 2021 because of the unavailability of a downrange tracking station, Arianespace has taken the decision to postpone the fuelling of the Soyuz launcher. Pending resolution of this anomaly, the earliest launch date is now 4 December, 00:23 GMT/01:23 CET.

UPDATE (13:20 p.m Los Angeles time on 2 December 2021):

The lit off is expected at 1:27 CET, not 1:31 CET (the old date)

More about these satellites: 

These two satellites are the first in the last batch of satellites, ie in "Lot 3". "Lot 3" contains 12 such satellites of the same type, Galileo First Generation. So, after these two, another 10 follow. The 12 satellites are built by OHB SE in Bremen, Germany. And here is the help of the UK with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd in Guildford, which has contributed to the navigation, search and rescue of satellites. The satellites have been well manipulated in recent days, they have been tested to see if they are functional, but also many other technical things.

The satellites arrived in the port of French Guiana

Galileo satellites had arrived safely at the ESA spaceport in French Guyana with confirmation on October 8, 2021. Their transport was done with a mission to send goods across the Atlantic, Ilyushin. After arriving in French Guyana, they moved to the center closest to the spaceport, Kourou. The mission of sending them to South America was a secret, for security reasons. Both satellites were placed in separate, covered, environmentally controlled containers.

These satellites also made some "stops", it is not known why ESA did not transport them directly to South America from the Netherlands. Thus their journey from the Netherlands to French Guyana was:

- Tuesday, 5 October 2021, in the morning, the satellites left ESA's ESTEC test center in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, for Liège Airport in Belgium

- They left the airport and made a stop at Oporto Airport in Portugal

- From the Portuguese airport they went directly to French Guyana, where they arrived on Wednesday evening, local time (which means, somewhere on Thursday in Europe)

Galileo satellites were positioned on Soyuz launcher

Two days before launch, on December 2, 2021, Galileo satellites are positioned on the Soyuz launcher safely. Mentioning the fact that the two were placed at the same time on the launcher with the higher stage Frigate in their protective hull. The Galeileo 27-28 satellites are from a high-performance generation, which brings many benefits.

These two Galileo satellites, were positioned somewhere on the fourth stage of the launcher. Like most ESA satellite missions, these satellites will be launched from ESA's space port in French Guiana. Their launch is expected to be a success, due to the large number of tests performed before this step into space. For the same reason (large number of tests performed), it is expected that these satellites will be able to successfully fulfill their mission in space. The exact date on which the satellites will be launched is: 01:31 CET. But it can take a few minutes to change.  

Also, the weather conditions in French Guiana will not be the best for launch. According to https://weather.com, on December 1st and 2nd and 3rd, the chances of heavy rain and lightning are over 98%. Thunderstorms are forecast, which cannot change the date on which the satellites go into space. But thanks to developed ESA launch technologies, everything may be fine without long delays or mission rescheduling.

Credit: ESA
Credit: ESA
Credit: ESA
Credit: ESA
Credit: ESA/GSA
Credit: ESA/GSA


We wish ESA and the satellites every success! 

Article by: Andacs Robert Eugen, on 03 December 2021, at 08:00 am Los Angeles time (update may effect this date, see above the latest updates)

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