Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has successfully completed the planned repositioning of the first Galileo test satellite, GIOVE-A, to a higher orbit to make way for the operational satellites of Europe’s satellite navigation constellation.
From the GIOVE-A operational headquarters in Guildford, UK, SSTL’s operating team executed a series of precisely planned manoeuvres during July and August that have repositioned the satellite 113km above the orbit that the 27 operational Galileo navigation satellites will occupy.
Since its launch in December 2005, GIOVE-A has achieved all of its mission objectives and remains in excellent condition well beyond its design life of 2 years.
The test satellite has secured the Galileo frequency filings with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
The mission has also flight-proven the main technologies developed for Galileo such as the highly accurate atomic clocks.
OHB and SSTL jointly form one of the two consortia now bidding for the development and construction of 28 satellites for the operational Galileo service.
By allowing two consortia to build spacecraft for this important European undertaking, ESA and the EU would ensure that the full operational capability can be put in place as soon as possible and at best value to the taxpayer. The system is to be fully operational by 2013 following full contract signature expected in late 2009.
Picture: GIOVE-A was developed and manufactured by SSTL within a 30-month, 28m Euro contract. SSTL continues to operate the satellite from its Guildford, UK facilities and has also undertaken or contributed to the GIOVE-A and GIOVE-B testing programmes that are the foundations of the future Galileo satellite navigation system and the operational satellite development.