Arianespace and the European Space Agency (ESA), acting on behalf of the European Commission, have signed a contract for three launch services with Ariane 5 ES to step up deployment of Galileo satellites.
With this new launch contract and thanks to the performance of Ariane 5 ES, a total of 12 Galileo FOC (Full Operational Capability) satellites will be launched using three dedicated Ariane 5 ES launch vehicles, each carrying four satellites. The Ariane 5 ES launches will take place from 2015 onwards.
Arianespace will be responsible for ensuring all of the 22 FOC satellites manufactured by the German group OHB System alongside the British company Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. are taken into circular orbit at an altitude of 23,522 km using a combination of five Soyuz launch vehicles (two satellites per launch) and three Ariane 5 ES launch vehicles (four satellites per launch). The 22 operational satellites will join the four IOV satellites launched successfully by Arianespace from the Guiana Space Center in 2011 and 2012.
Arianespace and its subsidiary Starsem were responsible for launching in 2005 and 2008 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome the initial satellites in the Galileo constellation, GIOVE-A and GIOVE-B, which were able to secure the frequencies allocated to the constellation.
Once the contract had been signed, Stéphane Israël, chairman and CEO of Arianespace, made the following statement: “With its Ariane 5 ES heavy-lift launch-vehicle, Arianespace is able to provide the most appropriate solution for stepping up the deployment of the entire Galileo constellation. Ariane has once again demonstrated its excellence as it lends its expertise to Europe’s ambitions in space. With the three Ariane, Vega and Soyuz launch-vehicles operated from the Guiana Space Center, European spaceport, Arianespace is giving Europe guaranteed access to space and suitable solutions to meet its wide-ranging needs. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the European Commission and European Space Agency (ESA) for their continued trust. Being the launch operator of the Galileo program is an immense source of pride for Arianespace, its employees and its partners.”