Arianespace’s Russian-built Soyuz spacecraft lifted two more Galileo navigation satellites into orbit, as Europe’s new navigation constellation continues to take shape.
Dubbed Daniele and Alizee — after the young students who won a European Commission-sponsored art competition in 2011 — the satellites join a dozen already in place in Europe’s Galileo navigation constellation. The EC-supported European Space Agency is supervising deployment of the constellation.
The May 24 launch from the ESA’s Spaceport, or Guiana Space Center, in French Guiana also brings to 14 the number of Galileo satellites put into orbit by Arianespace. The France-based private company’s Soyuz launched at 1:48 a.m. EDT, with the satellites reaching orbit less than four hours later.
Galileo eventually will boast 30 satellites in total, with the network designed for interoperability with the U.S. GPS system and Russia’s GLONASS global positioning systems.
Arianespace was founded in 1980 and bills itself as the world’s first commercial provider of space-launch services. It specializes in satellite launches and is owned by private and public stakeholders from throughout Europe.