The engineering model of the first Galileo in-orbit verification (IOV) satellite is now undergoing through functional tests phase, following its successful completion of the platform integration tests.

The engineering model of the IOV satellite is used to mitigate the design risks before making the proto-flight model and the three flight model satellites.

The IOV satellite engineering model is also used to rectify the testing procedure and to demonstrate the satellite’s compatibility with the Galileo ground system.

Although the engineering model does not have the complete redundancy of its flight counterparts, it represents the flight models in form, fit and function.

While the integration test at the Thales Alenia Space facility in Rome verified the interfaces between units or subsystems and the larger integrated system, the functional test will demonstrate that the integrated elements will meet their design specifications.

Astrium UK is expected to deliver the engineering model payload in December.

The integration and testing of the proto-flight and three flight-model satellites will also take place at Thales Alenia Space, following their delivery into orbit in pairs by Soyuz ST-B/Fregat MT launchers from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

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The first launch will take place in late 2010, and the second in early 2011.