Europe's satellite GPS to blast off after technical hitch

Two Galileo satellites are scheduled for takeoff on Friday

Europe's space ambitions are scheduled to blast off on Friday with the launch of the first two operational satellites of the Galileo program, the European global satellite navigation system.

These two IOV (In-Orbit Validation) satellites will open the way for the full deployment of the 30 satellites that will make up the entirety of the Galileo constellation, due to be completed in 2018-2019.

The satellites, named "Thijs" and "Natalia" after two children who won a drawing contest, were due to be sent into orbit on Thursday, but a technical hitch delayed plans by 24 hours.

The satellites will be taken into orbit by a Russian Soyuz rocket, blasting off from the European spaceport in Kourou, Guiana. The project, which aims to offer global positioning accuracy to within a meter, has however been plagued by problems. Technical delays and cost overruns have cast a shadow over Europe's flagship space program.

Once the orbit validation phase is over, another 14 satellites will be launched as soon as they are ready for delivery. An invitation to tender to build the final 12 satellites is likely to be announced in the coming days.

On board one of the satellites to be launched on Friday is best atomic clock ever flown for navigation, accurate to one second in 2 million years. The launch at 12:30 Central European Time can be watch live at www.esa.int.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags popular sciencerobotics

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?