Galileo: Alba and Oriana in orbit!
Oriana is over the moon. The Galileo satellite named after her was successfully orbited from Kourou during the night of 10-11 September by a Soyuz launcher. Oriana is a junior high school pupil from Roubaix who took part in 2011 in the drawing competition organized by the European Commission to name the Galileo satellites after children from its member nations. She came out the winner of the competition in France, and her name was given to the 10th satellite. Alba, the 9th Galileo satellite, is named after a young Spanish girl.
With Alba and Oriana, the 5th and 6th Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellites, in orbit at an altitude of 23,500 km the Galileo programme now has 10 satellites in space, one-third of the complete constellation. Two other satellites, Antonianna and Andriana, are set to launch by the end of the year. As Jan Woerner, Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), underlined in a press release: “The day of Galileo’s full operational capability is approaching. It will be a great day for Europe.”
Did you know?
From 2016, in addition to Soyuz orbiting 2 satellites on each launch, Ariane 5 will provide the capability to orbit 4 Galileo satellites on a single launch.
Galileo is Europe’s global satellite navigation system. Ultimately, it will be formed of a constellation of 30 satellites.
CNES was closely involved in developing Galileo and defining signals. One of the two control centres used for the satellites’ launch and early operations phase (LEOP) is located at CNES in Toulouse.