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
The European Union set the date for the launch of the first satellites in its Galileo global navigation system and said the long-delayed programme would come in below budget. “This launch is of historical importance,” Antonio Tajani said of a plan that will eventually put 30 satellites into orbit and provide global positioning data for cars, ships, aircraft, railroads and mobile phone users, among others. “We are cutting the costs as compared to the estimates,” Tajani said, saying the forecast figure of 3.4 billion euros ($4.76 billion) would be lowered once the price of the last two contracts is finalised at Le Bourget in Paris on June 22. The programme, which must be fully funded by the EU, has long run over budget, with the European Commission saying in January it needed 1.9 billion euros more to complete the programme. That request has now been dropped.
In sponsoring the ESA Innovation Prize in line with the European Satellite Navigation
Competition (ESNC), the European Space Agency (ESA) is looking for business ideas that
promote the commercial use of satellite navigation. In addition to a EUR 10,000 cash
prize, the winner may get the chance to implement the idea at an ESA Business
Incubation Centre (ESA BIC).