Galileo grows: two more satellites join working constellation

Two further satellites have formally become part of Europe’s Galileo satnav system, broadcasting timing and navigation signals worldwide while also picking up distress calls across the planet.

These are the 15th and 16th satellites to join the network, two of the four Galileos that were launched together by Ariane 5 on 17 November, and the first additions to the working constellation since the start of Galileo Initial Services on 15 December.

The growing number of Galileo users around the world will draw immediate benefit from the enhanced service availability and accuracy brought by these extra satellites.

The launch into space and the manoeuvres to reach their final orbits still left a lot of rigorous testing before the satellites could join the operational constellation.

The satellites are now broadcasting working navigation signals and are ready to relay any Cospas–Sarsat distress calls to regional emergency services.

Now that these two satellites are part of the constellation, the remaining pair from the Ariane 5 launch is similarly being checked to prepare them for service.

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