|News Update|| |
GIOVE-A, Galileo Pathfinder satellite, de-commissioned after 16 years of in-orbit service
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has successfully de-commissioned GIOVE-A, the pathfinder satellite for Europe’s Galileo constellation, after 16 years of operations in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO). The decision to de-commission the satellite was made due to the obsolescence in computing systems required for the operation of GIOVE-A, and de-commissioning of the spacecraft took place on 24 November 2021. The procedure involved transitioning the satellite to Earth pointing mode , turning off the reaction wheels and setting the attitude and orbit control system to standby mode, before finally switching off the on board computer and transmitter.
GIOVE-A was designed, built and tested by SSTL in only 30 months for the European Space Agency (ESA) and was launched on 28 December 2005 with a mission to secure vital frequency filings, generate the first Galileo navigation signals in space, characterize a prototype rubidium atomic clock, and model the radiation environment of MEO for future Galileo spacecraft. GIOVE-A was the first European satellite launched into the demanding MEO radiation environment, where it greatly out-performed its 27 month design lifetime.