Astrium builds first two Galileo In-Orbit Validation satellites

The European Space Agency (ESA) has accepted the first and second Astrium-built Galileo In-Orbit Validation (IOV) satellites as part of its quality acceptance review.

The first of four Astrium-built IOV satellites to form part of the Galileo constellation has also arrived at the European Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana, ahead of its scheduled launch on a Soyuz launch vehicle in October.

According to EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space), the satellite was designed and manufactured by a team under the leadership of Astrium Germany, with Astrium UK overseeing the development and integration of the satellite’s navigation payload.

The satellite is the first of four IOV satellites that are being developed by Astrium for the Galileo system — Europe’s first global navigation satellite system. 

The satellite arrived in French Guiana on an Antonov An-124 aircraft (pictured below) from Rome, where the spacecraft was assembled and tested by Thales Alenia Space Italy. The spacecraft will shortly be joined by the second Astrium-built IOV satellite before both will be launched on the first ever Soyuz flight from French Guiana in late October.

The first two spacecraft will be joined in orbit next year by the third and fourth IOV satellites, which are also being developed under Astrium’s leadership. Once in orbit, these four satellites will validate the Galileo system design.