Ecco la press release:
European Space Agency Press Release No. 03-2006 12 January 2006 Paris, France
First Galileo signals transmitted by GIOVE-A
The GIOVE-A satellite is in good health and started transmitting the first
Galileo signals from medium Earth orbit on 12 January.
GIOVE-A was placed in orbit (altitude 23,260 km) by a Soyuz-Fregat rocket
operated by Starsem on 28 December last from the Baikonur cosmodrome. The
prime contractor, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, then successfully
deployed the 7-metre solar array panels, commissioned the satellite
platform and prepared the payload for tests from its Mission Control
Centre. These activities on GIOVE-A drew on the joint efforts of ground
stations deployed at RAL (UK), Bangalore (India) and Kuala Lumpur
(Malaysia) for uploading of the onboard computer software, deployment of
the two solar panels and placing of the satellite in sun-acquisition mode.
All the platform systems underwent functional checks and the satellite was
then put in its nominal Earth-pointing attitude and orbit control mode.
This platform commissioning phase was successfully completed by 9 January.
On 10 January, payload commissioning started from the SSTL Mission Control
Centre with the objective of verifying that all the units in the
navigation payload were functioning properly.
On 12 January, the first Galileo navigation signals were transmitted by
GIOVE-A. These were received and analysed by the Galileo receivers using
the 25-metre diameter dish of the Chilbolton Observatory Facilities for
Atmospheric and Radio Research (UK) and the ESA Station in Redu (Belgium).
The various Galileo signal modes will now be generated sequentially using
the various GIOVE-A payload chains. Payload commissioning activities are
planned to be completed by mid-February.
Additional measurement campaigns will then be carried out to assess the
medium earth orbit radiation environment, characterise the performance of
the on-board clocks and perform signal-in-space experimentation.
GIOVE-A is the first element of the Galileo In-Orbit Validation phase. The
pilot satellite marks the very first step towards full operability of
Europe’s new global navigation satellite system, a partnership project
involving the European Space Agency and the European Commission.
GIOVE-A’s mission is to secure use of the frequencies allocated by the
International Telecommunications Union for the Galileo system, demonstrate
critical technologies for the navigation payloads of future operational
Galileo satellites, characterise the radiation environment of the orbits
planned for the Galileo constellation and test the receivers on the
Formerly known as GSTB-V2/A, the GIOVE A satellite is carrying two
redundant, small-size rubidium atomic clocks built by Temex Neuchatel Time
(Switzerland), each with a stability of 10 nanoseconds per day, and two
signal generation units built by Alcatel Alenia Space (Italy) and SSTL
(UK) respectively. This mission will be followed by that of the second
satellite, GIOVE-B, which is to be built by Galileo Industries (Germany)
Galileo will be Europe’s very own global navigation satellite system,
providing a highly accurate and guaranteed positioning service under
civilian control. It will be inter-operable with the two other systems:
the US Global Positioning System and Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite.
Galileo will deliver real-time positioning services with unrivaled
accuracy and integrity.
For further information, please contact:
ESA Media Relations Division
- First Galileo satellite on orbit to demonstrate key technologies
- GIOVE-A on the launch pad; launch rehearsal completed
- GIOVE-A ready to join its Soyuz launcher; launch timeline
- Galileo – a global system
- GIOVE-A mated with launcher upper stage; launch set for 28 December
- Preparing for launch in Baikonur
- Galileo satellite prepares for launch
- First Galileo Launch
- Galileo Joint Undertaking (GJU)
- Galileo website (European Commission)
- Surrey Satellite Technology – GIOVE-A
- Baikonur Cosmodrome
- Russian launchers
- Starsem – Soyuz launcher
- Galileo tour
[NOTE: Images supporting this release are available at