One Soyuz launcher, two Galileo satellites, three successes for Europe
Published October 21, 2011
The first pair of satellites for Europe's Galileo global navigation satellite system has been lofted into orbit by the first Russian Soyuz vehicle ever launched from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana in a milestone mission.
The Soyuz VS01 flight, operated by Arianespace, started with liftoff from the new launch complex in French Guiana at 10:30 GMT (12:30 CEST) on 21 October.
All of the Soyuz stages performed perfectly and the Fregat-MT upper stage released the Galileo satellites into their target orbit at 23 222 km altitude, 3 hours 49 minutes after liftoff.
"This launch represents a lot for Europe: we have placed in orbit the first two satellites of Galileo, a system that will position our continent as a world-class player in the strategic domain of satellite navigation, a domain with huge economic perspectives," said Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of ESA.
Credit: ESA webpage news