Europe's satellite GPS to blast off after technical hitch

Two Galileo satellites are scheduled for takeoff on Friday

Europe's space ambitions are scheduled to blast off on Friday with the launch of the first two operational satellites of the Galileo program, the European global satellite navigation system.

These two IOV (In-Orbit Validation) satellites will open the way for the full deployment of the 30 satellites that will make up the entirety of the Galileo constellation, due to be completed in 2018-2019.

The satellites, named "Thijs" and "Natalia" after two children who won a drawing contest, were due to be sent into orbit on Thursday, but a technical hitch delayed plans by 24 hours.

The satellites will be taken into orbit by a Russian Soyuz rocket, blasting off from the European spaceport in Kourou, Guiana. The project, which aims to offer global positioning accuracy to within a meter, has however been plagued by problems. Technical delays and cost overruns have cast a shadow over Europe's flagship space program.

Once the orbit validation phase is over, another 14 satellites will be launched as soon as they are ready for delivery. An invitation to tender to build the final 12 satellites is likely to be announced in the coming days.

On board one of the satellites to be launched on Friday is best atomic clock ever flown for navigation, accurate to one second in 2 million years. The launch at 12:30 Central European Time can be watch live at www.esa.int.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags popular sciencerobotics

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?