Sunday, March 18, 2012

Errant Galileo Satellite Repositioning

galileo satellite

Last year, a Soyuz rocket launched two Galileo satellites into the wrong orbit due to a a malfunction. In November, one of the two satellites was able to correct its orbit to a lower than initially intended, yet far more usable orbit. This month, the second errant satellite has begun its maneuvers to a more circular and usable orbit.

The orbit change is expected to be completed in a couple of weeks and the European Space Agency (ESA) is hoping that it, too, will be usable for navigational purposes. Both satellites are reported to be working perfectly, and the satellite that was repositioned is expected to have a longer life than the other satellites because its orbit will expose it to less radiation.

Currently, the Galileo system has about four satellites ready to be launched, and two more are expected to be completed and ready for launch sometime this year. A schedule for the launches was released earlier this week, and the next launch is expected in March. The ESA announced that the satellites launched in 2015 will use Soyuz and Ariane 5 rockets.

It’s been a bit of a bumpy couple of years for the ESA, but it looks like Galileo is finally getting back on the right track.

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