Edinburgh, 24 November 2021. – The European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) announced the first of a series of six launches with two Galileo satellites per launch, from Spaceport Kourou. Galileo satellites 27 and 28 will be launched on-board of a Soyuz rocket on 2nd December.
EUSPA will be in charge of Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) operations which will be overseen by a team of specialists. The LEOP phase handles the launch of the spacecraft and its travel into the correct orbit.
Soon after the spacecraft separates from the 46 m tall launch vehicle, they will be brought to a ‘breathing point’. This is where the satellites’ attitude is stable, pointing towards the Sun, and where the solar arrays are deployed. Later on, the spacecrafts’ internal reaction wheels will be tested to ensure that they can hold their momentum, and can turn towards Earth. The satellite couple will then part ways and be put into their own orbital positions in MEO, 23,222 km above us.
LEOP will take about 10 days from countdown to entering into Galileo service provision. The LEOP activities will be conducted from the Galileo Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. The operations will be a cooperation between numerous European entities like SpaceOpal, DLR Space Applications Institute, German Space Operations Center, Telespazio, Guiana Space Centre and ESA.