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Two Galileo satellites placed into the wrong orbit


Article by: Mike Barrett
Date: 27 Aug 2014

pocketgpsworld.com
Last week saw the launch of a Soyuz rocket from French Guiana carrying the first pair of the Full Operation Capability Galileo navigation satellites. The launch seemed to go perfectly as expected from the Soyuz workhorse and the European Space Agency's equatorial spaceport. Indeed the launch team reported a successful mission.

Unfortunately when the Galileo navigation satellites deployed and started sending signals back to the ground stations an analysis of the data provided by the launch tracking ground stations showed that the satellites were not deployed in the expected orbits. The targeted orbit was circular, inclined at 55 degrees with a semi major axis of 29,900 kilometers. The satellites are now in an elliptical orbit, with excentricity of 0.23, a semi major axis of 26,200 km and inclined at 49.8 degrees.

This is being classified by ESA and Arianespace as a "Major Anomaly". It has been determined that the Soyuz booster did perform correctly and that the fault lies with the Fregat upper stage. The Fregat is responsible for boosting the satellites into their final orbit. A commission has been set up to investigate and recommend remedial action . The commission will have a multi-discipline makeup with representatives from ESA, Arianespace, University specialists, Galileo, CNES and Roscosmos. In the mean time the Soyuz launch vehicles are grounded at the European Space Port in French Guiana.

It is not clear at this time if the satellites can be recovered and placed into the correct orbits using the onboard propulsion systems. Even if this were possible it would almost certainly mean a reduced life expectancy for the spacecraft.

Although this is a serious setback to the Galileo program the bulk of the remaining FOC satellites were contracted to be deployed using an Ariane 5 launcher in 2015. The Ariane 5 is capable of launching 4 Galileo satellites in the payload for each launch. Should the Soyuz issue not be resolved then additional Ariane 5 launches could make up the deficit.

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Comments
Posted by Davidonly on Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:57 am Reply with quote

Very uneasy about the implications to personal choice (road charging orbital enforcement of speed limits etc) from allowing our control freak chums in Brussels to launch this vanity project - using OUR Money!

Did anyone ask for this massive waste of investment? GPS is adequate!!

Hope a few more blow up/get lost in space to be honest.


 
Posted by MikeB on Sat Aug 30, 2014 7:05 am Reply with quote

Davidonly Wrote:
Very uneasy about the implications to personal choice (road charging orbital enforcement of speed limits etc) from allowing our control freak chums in Brussels to launch this vanity project - using OUR Money!

Did anyone ask for this massive waste of investment? GPS is adequate!!

Hope a few more blow up/get lost in space to be honest.

Indeed GPS is adequate until the US decide it is in their best interest to deny it from us. We have been living too long with the free service from a foreign entity over which we have no control. Surely it is time that we took matters in our own hands and used our own systems?


Mike Barrett
Editor, PocketGPSWorld.com

 
Posted by M8TJT on Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:48 am Reply with quote

Davidonly Wrote:
Hope a few more blow up/get lost in space to be honest.
And waste our money just the same but have absolutely nothing to show for it? Rolling Eyes


 
Posted by Davidonly on Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:16 pm Reply with quote

M8TJT Wrote:
Davidonly Wrote:
Hope a few more blow up/get lost in space to be honest.
And waste our money just the same but have absolutely nothing to show for it? Rolling Eyes


price of freedom I'm afraid.

I sincerely doubt the US will ever deprive the world of GPS access


 
Posted by alan_sh on Sun Aug 31, 2014 4:38 pm Reply with quote

And if they did - I'm sure we would cope.

Alan


 
Posted by MaFt on Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:58 am Reply with quote

Don't forget that the Galileo system has the fantastic Search & Rescue capability too. It's not just 'copying' the American system, it far better than theirs.

MaFt


 
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