Space, ready to launch 2 new Galileo satellites

Italy will also go into orbit on December 2 in pole position in the European satellite navigation program with the Leonardo Group

Launch maneuvers continue for the two new satellites of the European satellite navigation system Galileo, a program in which Italy also plays a strategic role with its space giant Leonardo. The European Space Agency has announced that the two new satellites Galileo, near to depart, were attached to the dispenser on which they will go into orbit and the casing of the launcher – which will protect them during the first part of the ascent into orbit – has been closed around the pair of satellites. The launch of the Galileo satellites 27 and 28 is planned with a Soyuz launcher from the European spaceport of Kourou, in French Guiana, next 2 December at 01:31 Cet when in Kourou it will be 21:31:27 on 1 December. The launch will be operated by Arianespace, the European launch services company, with a Soyuz Vs26 flight. Of the 26 Galileo satellites already in orbit, Arianepsace recalled that 14 were launched with a Soyuz manufactured by Progress Space Rocket Center, part of Roscosmos, between 2011 and 2016. Another 12 Galileo satellites were launched with an Ariane 5 between 2016 and 2018. Flight Vs26 will increase Galileo’s total fleet to 28 satellites. The goal of a full deployment of the first generation of Galileo is around 2025.

ESA explained that the dispenser has the double task of ensuring the two satellites in a safe position during take-off and flight, then deploy the satellites in their target orbit. The two new satellites will consolidate the European Galileo system in which Italy, with the Leonardo Group, plays a fundamental role in the development of the program resulting from the collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Union (EU), the European Agency for the Space Program (Euspa), with the important contribution of the Italian Space Agency (ASI).

In all the satellites of the Galileo program, an important technological component is in fact developed by the Italian Leonardo who created the Ires-N2 attitude sensors (Infrared Earth Sensor), used to control the position of satellites, and atomic hydrogen clocks Phm-Passive Hydrogen Maser. Leonardo’s Phm is the most accurate atomic clock ever made for satellite navigation applications as it accumulates an error of just one second every three million years.

An Italian heart beats in the satellites, they are the most accurate atomic clocks in the world for space

After working on atomic clocks for the first generation of Galileo, Leonardo will continue to supply two hydrogen atomic clocks (masers) for each new satellite of the Second Generation: 2 are installed on each of the satellites and are the real heart of it. In fact, since space and time are united in the determination of a geographical position, a better measurement of time corresponds to a more accurate location. Furthermore, the European Space Agency has chosen Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), for the supply of 6 of the 12 satellites of the Second Generation Galileo Constellation, increasing performance and cyber- constellation safety.

Thales Alenia Space also provides industrial support to ESA by carrying out system activities relating to design, to the performance, integration and validation of the system and for the control of the entire satellite navigation system. Tas has also supplied important technological components such as the signal generation units and antennas for the first 22 satellites of the Foc (Full Operation Capability) phase of the constellation, the Precision Time Facility (Ptf), which generates and manages the scale of times of the Galileo system, as well as the Galileo Reference Chain (Grc) which receives and controls the Galileo signal in the ground segment.

Thales Alenia Space is also responsible for the design and development of the Ground Mission Control Segment and the major subsystems of the Space Segment. At its site in Rome, it also performed assembly, integration and testing of the 4 Iov-In Orbit Validation satellites.

Just before the launch, Telespazio doubled the Centro Galileo del Fucino

In this picture, also central is the role of the Italian Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%), which built one of the two control centers at the Fucino Space Center who manage the constellation and mission of the program. Just on 3 November, despite its 60 years of age, Telespazio looked to the future with ‘young eyes’ and extended the perimeter of the Galileo Control Center (Gcc), the second center in Europe that manages the satellite constellation, to the Fucino and the mission of the European navigation and satellite tracking system program. About a month after the launch of the two new Galileo satellites, the joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%) has in fact inauguration of a new building at the Fucino Space Center, thus expanding the Center in Italy already operational since 2010.

The enlargement of Galileo’s Italian Center – the other is based in Munich – was determined by the evolution of the program which expanded the development of the activities of the Fucino Control Center, making it necessary to create new control rooms and new operational areas. The new configuration already operational of the Italian GCC can now have 30 control rooms and 40 equipment rooms. At full capacity, the activities will be operated by around 200 technicians and the new infrastructure, built in 12 months by Telespazio, is spread over an area of ​​around 1400 square meters, bringing the Galileo Control Center to occupy a total area of ​​6000 square meters.

The Italian Galileo Control Center operates in parallel with the German Control Center built by Dlr-Gfr, company of the German space agency, in Oberpfaffenhofen, a few kilometers from Munich, manages the satellite constellation and the mission of the Galileo program. Furthermore, the Italian Center is responsible for the security operations of the entire Galileo system and takes care of the activities necessary to guarantee the integrity, confidentiality and authenticity of the navigation and positioning signal. Both centers are managed by Spaceopal, a joint venture between Telespazio and Dlr-Gfr – responsible for operations, the integrated logistics of the entire Galileo system, the management of the global communication network, the information security of the system as well as the operations Leop-Launch and Early Orbit Phase) starting from the launch of the next two satellites.