Second pair of Galileo IOV satellites in orbit

The last two Galileo IOV (In-Orbit Validation) satellites were successfully launched on Friday October 12th by Arianespace, using a Soyuz rocket at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana.

These two satellites, assembled, integrated and tested at Thales Alenia Space's plant in Rome, will join the first pair of IOV satellites, launched in October 2011.

The full fleet of four Galileo IOV satellites was designed and built by Astrium, the industrial prime contractor for the space segment, under contract to the European Space Agency (ESA) for the In-Orbit Validation phase. The IOV satellites will demonstrate the capabilities of the Galileo system prior to the deployment of the full constellation, which will eventually include 30 satellites.

The launch of the last two IOV satellites is a major milestone for the Galileo programme and the European space industry, as well as reflecting Thales Alenia Space's key role on Galileo.

In addition to taking charge of the assembly, integration and testing (AIT) of the four IOV satellites, Thales Alenia Space provides key equipment for the navigation payload and platform.

Thales Alenia Space has been a major partner in the Galileo programme since the outset, starting with the ground-based Galileo System Test Bed in 2003 and as lead subcontractor for the GIOVE-B demonstrator that was launched in 2008. As prime contractor for Galileo system support, Thales Alenia Space provides support services to ESA for system engineering, performance, assembly, integration and validation, plus signal-in-space engineering, safety engineering and product assurance. Thales Alenia Space is also prime contractor for the development and deployment of the Galileo Mission Segment (GMS) and the Galileo Security Facility (GSF) that will control the overall navigation system from the ground. Moreover, Thales Alenia Space will provide the signal generation units and the antennas, both key elements in the navigation payload, for the first 22 satellites already ordered for the Full Operational Capability (FOC) constellation.

Thales Alenia Space’s facility in Rome offers capabilities unrivaled in Europe for the integration of satellites in large constellations. Initially commissioned for mobile communication satellites, it has already delivered 72 first-generation and 18 second-generation Globalstar satellites, with 6 more ready for launch. Eight satellites are also in production there for the O3B constellation, which will provide broadband Internet connections in developing countries.

Thales Alenia Space offers a unique array of skills and capabilities for the ongoing deployment of Europe's space infrastructures, based on extensive expertise developed through the Egnos and Galileo space navigation systems and its proven ability to produce large series of highly sophisticated satellites.

Source: Thales Group (Paris: HO.PA)
Date: Oct 15, 2012