The Netherlands: Europe’s latest Galileo navigation satellite has arrived at the European Space Agency’s technical centre in The Netherlands for testing. ESA in its statement issued to media confirmed that the previous two Galileo satellites have completed their long test campaign and are being readied for shipping to Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana for launch in next few months.
Key checks includes an acoustic battering to reproduce the violent forces of launch, and a session in a thermal–vacuum chamber to subject the satellite to the airlessness and temperature extremes it must endure over the course of its 12-year working life.
ESA confirmed that this latest round will be quicker and less thorough than the full-scale testing that the first two underwent over the course of last year, with the overall satellite design having now been validated. A fourth satellite is scheduled to arrive for tests in June. The test facilities can accommodate two Galileos at a time.
Europe’s first four Galileo satellites are already in orbit, the minimum number needed for achieving a position fix. The satellites have been built by OHB, incorporating navigation payloads produced by Surrey Satellite Technology in the UK.