An Ariane 5 rocket has launched four additional Galileo satellites, accelerating deployment of the new satellite navigation system.
The Ariane 5, operated by Arianespace, lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana at 13:06 GMT (14:06 CET, 10:06 local time) carrying Galileo satellites 15–18. The first pair was released 3 hours 35 minutes and 44 seconds after liftoff, while the second separated 20 minutes later.
The Galileos are at their target altitude, after a flawless release from the new dispenser designed to handle four satellites.
Over the next few days, engineers will nudge the satellites into their final working orbits and begin tests to ensure they are ready to join the constellation. This is expected to take six months or so.
This mission brings the Galileo system to 18 satellites.
The following video shows Ariane 5 launch
First part of the documentary about Ariane 5 launch
Second part of the documentary about Ariane 5 launch
Copyright of all videos and pictures by ESA