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European Union Global Navigational Satellite System Atomic Clocks start ticking

by Rus Abz 2011-10-24 17:10

Galileo Head Rocket Payload SectionThe first Galileo payload consisting of two Galileo Global Positioning System satellites found its way to the orbit carried by Russian Soyuz rocket launched from Ensemble de Lancement Soyouz, the Russo-European joint venture Soyuz integration and launch facility. The precision core of the European Space Agency's Galileo system includes first four of thirty planned to be launched Swiss-made atomic clocks. Ensemble de Lancement "Soyouz Cosmodrome" is located just 17 miles from the Kourou harbor, on the territory of Sinnamary commune in French Guiana, the home of Guiana Space Centre. The four year work of European Union and Russia on modernization of Soyuz into the Soyuz-2 and building the launch facilities have lead to success. Soyuz-2 blasted off from its launch pad carrying two Galileo GPS satellites into open space. These original Galileo GPS satellites are building the foundation of yet another international GPS system, which adds to the competition of proprietary GPS systems and become competitor and addition to to the USA GPS, Russia GLONASS-K and China GPS systems.  

Galileo GPS SatelliteThe launch of the Soyuz-2 from French Guiana, on the northern coast of South America, which became the alternative to Baikonur Cosmodrome, marks the maiden voyage of the Russian rocket outside the former Soviet Union, with European and Russian GPS navigational systems military and civilian potential users cheering the new born GPS Galileo project. In contrast o the Baikonur Cosmodrome Ensemble de Lancement Soyouz launch pad position has the significant benefit of greatly increased payload capability. That is explained by its near equatorial coordinates. The Soyuz Baikonur Cosmodrome provided for a rocket performance of about 1.7 tonnes of cargo delivery to the geostationary transfer orbit. Thanks to the beneficial equatorial location of the Ensemble de Lancement Soyouz the payload potential increases to 2.8 tonnes propelled to the geostationary transfer orbit by Soyuz-2 rocket. The modernization of Soyuz  vehicle into Soyuz-2 swallowed 120 million Euro, as new rocket assembly procedures differ from procedures used at Baikonur. The spacecraft itself is maintained and transported to the launch pad separately and attached to the rocket after it is erected in pre-start position. The new procedures have proven efficient as Russia's Soyuz rocket lifted off for the first time. The moving closed gantry which protects the launch pad from weather surprises also contributed to the success of the modernized project.

The European Space Agency Galileo GPS control center is located in Oberpfaffenhofen, southern Germany, and provided the broadcast of the start of a Russian rocket from Ensemble de Lancement Soyouz, French Guiana. The Galileo GPS control center represents global project management headquarters supported by the Russian Federal Space Agency, and by Arianespace, the commercial arm of the 13-country European Space Agency. The new Galileo GPS global positioning system will begin its official operation in 2014 providing high precision GPS services and 1-meter sharp coordinates to Galileo civilian subscribers and users. The full scale of Galileo project satellites carrying new generation of Atomic clocks and GPS and full range of GPS enabled services will unwind in year 2020.

Galileo GPS satellite carrier at Launch Stage






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