Galileo satnav payload

Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) has delivered the first of 14 Galileo ‘full operational capability’ (FOC) navigation payloads to prime contractor OHB System in Germany for mechanical incorporation with the satellite platform.

ESA Galileo programme and navigation-related activities director, Didier Faivre, said: "The payload for the fifth satellite in the Galileo constellation is ready."

"While the next two satellites to be launched are currently undergoing testing, the next ones are being built," Faivre added.

As part of the final preparation, OHB will attach all other parts required for a flight-ready satellite, including two halves of the satellite consisting of payload and platform.

The completed space craft is expected to be launched on a Soyuz launcher from the Sinnamary spaceport in French Guiana next year.

Designed to provide Galileo’s precision positioning measurements and services to global users, the payload will be added to its waiting satellite platform.

SSTL said that the payload, which is based on European atomic clocks, navigation signal generators, high-power amplifiers and antennas, will offer all Galileo navigation services.

ESA said that the first two Galileo satellites were launched in October last year, and is planning to launch another two satellites, which carry payloads built by Astrium and integrated by Thales Alenia Space, by the end of this summer.

The new satellites, which will be the follow-up batch of Galileo satellites, are scheduled to be launched in 2014.

Following the launch of all 14 satellites into the orbit, the 18-strong Galileo constellation will achieve ‘Initial Operational Capability’ and offer initial navigation services, while the complete range of services will be available after all 30 satellites are placed in orbit in 2018.

OHB-SSTL consortium has also received a contract to provide a further eight satellites for the Galileo system in February this year.


Image: The Galileo ‘full operational capability’ (FOC) navigation payload being prepared for delivery to OHB. Photo: SSTL 2012.