Europe’s next pair of Galileo satellites have been the focus of a busy autumn at ESA’s technical centre in the Netherlands, continuing a full-scale campaign to ensure their readiness for space.
With the first four Galileos already in orbit, these new versions are the first two of a total 22 ‘Full Operational Capability’ satellites being built by OHB in Germany with a payload from Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd in the UK.
The second satellite joined its predecessor in mid-August at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre in Noordwijk. This is the largest spacecraft testing site in Europe, with a full range of space simulation facilities under a single roof in cleanroom conditions. A wide range of tests have been performed on the two satellites.
Galileo Full Operational Capability Flight Model 2, FM2, satellite’s main L-band antenna used for broadcasting navigation messages, seen during preparation for a mass property test at the ESTEC Test Centre at the end of August 2013. Credits: ESA-Anneke Le Floc’h
The first two Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellites seen together at the ESTEC Test Centre on 30 August 2013. The second flight model, FM2, is in the foreground to the left with the first, FM1, in the background to the right.
Credits: ESA-Anneke Le Floc’h
The main antenna of the second Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellite being inspected with a flashlight in advance of mass property testing during August 2013. Credits: ESA-Anneke Le Floc’h
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The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.
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Checking the underside of the second Galileo Full Operational Capability satellite with a flashlight in advance of mass property testing in August 2013. Credits: ESA-Anneke Le Floc’h