A Europeanized Russian Soyuz rocket equipped with a Fregat upper stage on Sept. 11 successfully placed two European Galileo positioning, navigation and timing satellites into medium-Earth orbit, with two more scheduled for launch in December aboard a Soyuz.
The government agency overseeing Europe’s satellite navigation system said Sept. 9 it would invest $110 million to promote development of user hardware.
The European GNSS Agency said the L-band navigation payload on the SES-5 is performing well and will replace the payload on a satellite that Inmarsat plans to relocate.
European suppliers of satellite navigation chipsets, user terminals and related services said they risk being overrun by U.S., Chinese and Russian competitors, all of which benefit from government support.
Satellite and rocket-component builder OHB SE of Germany on May 13 reported a sharp drop in revenue for the three months ending March 31 but said it remains on track to meet its full-year revenue goal.
A Europeanized Russian Soyuz rocket on March 27 successfully delivered two European Galileo navigation satellites into orbit, stabilizing a program that was knocked off balance in August when the same vehicle put the two previous Galileo spacecraft into a badly off-target orbit.
A senior European Commission official said the commission is determined to have 30 Galileo navigation satellites in orbit by 2020, implicitly endorsing the expenditure of 200 million to 300 million euros to purchase four to six more spacecraft this year or next.
A senior Chinese government space official on Feb. 5 said precision-navigation user terminals in China will be fitted with chipsets receiving satellite signals not only China’s Beidou constellation, but also from the U.S., Russian and European systems.
The European Commission confirmed that it will continue using Europeanized Russian Soyuz rockets to launch Europe’s Galileo positioning, navigation and timing satellites despite the rocket’s recent anomalies.
The European Commission is under pressure to resolve nagging money issues surrounding its two flagship space programs, the Copernicus environment-monitoring effort and its fleet of Sentinel satellites; and the Galileo positioning, navigation and timing network.
Tests of the Galileo satellite recently moved from its initial bad orbit to an improved one have confirmed that it can be inserted into the broader Galileo constellation to deliver precision results to users.
The second of Europe's two Galileo navigation satellites will be moved by late December.
Officials said that despite an inquiry board’s conclusion that the Soyuz Fregat upper stage misdirected the two satellites because of an easily fixable design flaw, the inquiry uncovered several other Soyuz issues that will have to be resolved before they will launch.
Four O3b Networks broadband satellites are likely to be launched in mid-December aboard a Europeanized Russian Soyuz rocket.
Soyuz Team Takes Steps To Prevent Repeat of Galileo Launch Failure, including the Premature Celebration
The one-hour delay will give Arianespace enough time to collate data from satellite tracking stations to determine their exact position.