The third and fourth satellites for the planned Galileo satellite navigation system have reached their launch site in French Guiana in preparation for deployment in October, the European Space Agency has announced.
The satellites were transported from the manufacturing site in Rome to Europe’s Space Centre in the South American region on 7 August. The two devices are due to join a pair of Galileo satellites already in orbit to allow the validation phase of the project to begin. This phase will see the first calculation of global positions based solely on Galileo signals, and is meant to test the system’s efficiency.
On completion, the full Galileo system will consist of 30 satellites to provide global positioning services to compete with the United States’ GPS system. The remaining satellites are scheduled for launch in batches over the next three years, to complete the constellation in 2015.
The ESA has also received the first images of Earth from a geostationary satellite launched on 5 July, to be used for forecasting weather in Europe and Africa.