ArianeSpace launches two Galileo satellites

This morning a Soyuz rocket lifted off from the French Guiana Space Center carrying the first two fully operation Galileo satellites.  Galileo is the European’s version of the Global Positioning System, there are currently four satellites which were used to prove the system worked as needed, now that phase has completed the rest of the satellite fleet will now be launched to bring the system to full capacity.

The launch was delayed a day due to bad weather at French Guiana yesterday but launched successfully this morning following a smooth countdown.  The satellites were deployed from the Fregat upper stage after a brief second firing of the Fregat engine following a 3h 38m cruise to the desired orbit.  Once the spacecraft were deployed confirmation of communication with the ground stations was received.

Below are some screen grabs of the launch.

 

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