The Next Batch of Galileo Satellites
25 June 2013
The first Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellite was delivered
to ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands on 15 May.
It is being prepared for testing in the ESTEC Test Centre, a unique facility
for Europe with all the facilities needed to validate a satellite for
launch under one roof.
This initial FOC satellite is functionally identical to the first four
Galileo In-Orbit Validation satellites already in orbit, the operational
nucleus of the full Galileo constellation, but has been built by a separate
Like all the other 21 FOC satellites so far procured by ESA, the satellite’s
prime contractor is OHB in Bremen, Germany and the navigation payload
was produced by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd in Guildford, UK. The
photos shown here were taken at OHB.
The satellite is approximately the size and shape of an old-fashioned
telephone booth, dominated by its circular L-band antenna that will
continuously broadcast navigation messages down to Earth.
The smaller, hexagonal antenna beside it will perform a no less vital
task – picking up emergency messages from vessels in distress to relay
to search and rescue authorities, contributing to the international
A second Galileo FOC satellite is due to join its predecessor at ESTEC
later this summer, preparing for a launch scheduled for later this year.