KOUROU, Guiana, 28 Aug. 2012. The third and fourth Galileo IOV (In-Orbit Validation) satellites, built by Astrium, have passed their acceptance review and have been delivered to the European Space Agency (ESA) in Kourou, French Guiana. The two satellites are to be launched aboard a Soyuz rocket from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou. They will join the two Astrium IOV satellites already in space to complete the Galileo IOV configuration. The Astrium IOV satellites serve as a template for all other Galileo satellites built in Europe. If the launch of IOV satellites 3 and 4 goes according to plan, Astrium will have laid the foundation for the complete Galileo system. The two Galileo satellites were designed and built by a team led by Astrium GmbH in Ottobrunn, as prime contractor, who also oversaw the development and integration of the navigation payload through Astrium Ltd. in Portsmouth. The satellites were assembled and tested in Rome by Thales Alenia Space Italia and flown to French Guiana in an Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft. The two satellites are numbers three and four of a total of four IOV satellites that Astrium is supplying for the Galileo system. Galileo is Europe’s first global satellite navigation system under civilian control. The system will supply reliable and precise positioning data worldwide.
As soon as these two satellites join the first two in orbit, the four-satellite constellation will be activated in order to validate the Galileo system design. Four is the minimum number of satellites required for precise three-dimensional positioning.
The definition phase and the development and IOV phase of the Galileo program were conducted by the ESA and co-funded by ESA and the European Commission.
The Full Operational Capability phase of the Galileo program is managed and fully funded by the European Commission. The Commission and ESA have signed a delegation agreement under which ESA is authorized to act as design and procurement agent on behalf of the Commission.