Hemisphere GNSS would like to congratulate the European Union (EU), European Space Agency (ESA), and European GNSS Agency (GSA) on the successful launch of four new satellites (#19, 20, 21, and 22) adding to the Galileo constellation, Europe’s civil global navigation satellite system.
Satellites 19 – 22 were launched from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on December 12, 2017, on an Ariane 5 rocket, operated by Arianespace. Exactly 3 hours and 36 minutes after their launch, the first two satellites were released with the second two following approximately 20 minutes later.
All four satellites were released into their target 22,922 km-altitude orbit and will take 6 months of testing to ensure they are working properly and ready to join the rest of the functional Galileo system. The GSA will perform the testing.
With these additional satellites now in orbit, the Galileo system grid only requires two final satellites to become fully operational and provide global coverage. The final launch, planned for next year, will see another four satellites sent into orbit, bringing the constellation to a total of twenty-four with two orbital spares.
We applaud the efforts of the EU, ESA, and GSA with the progress of the constellation making Galileo a very desirable system and, once complete, providing global coverage.
Hemisphere receivers currently track and use the operational Galileo satellites and will track these four new satellites once they are commissioned.