ESA success with next Galileo satellites – final tracking data from two launched today confirmed that from now Galileo constellation reach twelve satellites.

It was 1852nd mission of Soyuz rocket, this time from launch site of Guiana Space Center. Soyuz-2.1b after finishing fueling the tanks was waiting for start with two satellites of Galileo navigation system: FM-08 and FM-09. Punctually at 12:52 GMT just 15 seconds before liftoff engines of the first stage and boosters are starting. At 12:53 GMT Soyuz is starting to lift off. After around 40 kilometers and two minutes later boosters are separating correctly from the first stage. At T+3 minutes fairings of the payload are separating and one minute later, third stage is starting engine at 12:58 GMT and on altitude of 179 km. At 13:03 GMT Fregat-MT upper module is separating and starting injecting satellites into elliptical transfer orbit. At 13:21 GMT Fregat-MT is shutting engines to stay on parking orbit for next 3’39”. After this time, Fregat-MT is starting engines again at 16:35 GMT and at 16:36 GMT Fregat-MT is starting to prepare correct injecting  into a circular orbit at altitude of 23522 km and inclination at 54.95°. After reaching final position, at 16:42 GMT satellites are deployed. Mission is finished – satellites are operating correctly.

FM-08 and FM-09 satellites are following from planned constellation of thirty. Bus of satellites is designed and manufactured by OHB-System GmbH, European Company established in 1958 and present in space industry since 1980. Company is located in Germany with facilities in Bremen and Munich. Surrey Satellite technology is responsible for payload. Consortium of these two companies was awarded with contract for fourteen satellites for Galileo in 2010 with additional agreement signed in 2012 for further eight. Each satellite is equipped with  two rubidium and two hydrogen maser atomic clocks, for emitting navigation signals transponders operating on L band are provided. Satellites are also using MEO SAR transponder. Equipment is powered by onboard batteries and two deployable solar arrays. Propulsion is supported by eight thrusters fueled with hydrazine manufactured by Moog Inc. providing thrust at 1 N each. Mass of satellite is 733 kg and operating life is not less than 12 years.

More about Galileo and whole mission You can read here.