Two further satellites have formally become part of Europe’s Galileo satnav system, broadcasting timing and navigation signals worldwide while also picking up distress calls across the planet.
These are the 15th and 16th satellites to join the network, two of the four Galileos that were launched together by Ariane 5 on 17 November, and the first additions to the working constellation since the start of Galileo Initial Services on 15 December.
The launch into space and the manoeuvres to reach their final orbits still left a lot of rigorous testing before the satellites could join the operational constellation.
Their navigation and search and rescue payloads had to be switched on, checked and the performance of the different Galileo signals assessed methodically in relation to the rest of the worldwide system.
This lengthy testing saw the satellites being run from the second Galileo Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, while their signals were assessed from ESA’s Redu centre in Belgium, with its specialised antennas.
Full article: Galileo grows: two more satellites join working constellation (Spacewar)