Paris, France: The European Space Agency (ESA), Arianespace and the European Commission announced that the first two satellites of Europe’s global navigation satellite system, Galileo, will be launched on October 20, 2011. This will be the first of a series of Galileo satellite launches by Arianespace from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
The announcement follows a detailed review held on May 12, under the chairmanship of the Director General of the ESA and with the participation of Arianespace and industrial prime contractors, which concluded that the space and ground elements will be ready for a launch in October.
The two Galileo satellites will be deployed using a Soyuz launcher. The October launch will mark the inaugural Soyuz flight from its new launch facilities in French Guiana, built in the framework of a programme of the ESA.
Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of ESA, said, “With this launch, we will also be opening a new chapter in our own history, as we start Soyuz operations from the Guiana Space Centre. More than ever, we will be able to deliver the full range of launch services expected by our customers from around the world.”