Thousands of engineers have worked on the seventh and eighth navigation satellites of Europe’s Galileo constellation in recent years, but now the team from ESA and builders OHB in the S3B building of Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana looked on as their work disappeared from view.
The pair of satellites – already resting atop their Fregat upper stage and attached to their dispenser – was enclosed within the two halves of the Soyuz rocket’s protective fairing.
This unit was moved yesterday to the launch site, where it will be lifted atop the first three stages of the Soyuz ST-B to complete the vehicle for the imminent launch.
Last week saw the two satellites being fueled in the Spaceport’s S5A preparation hall and then brought together atop the dispenser that will support them during the rigors of ascent.
The dispenser’s final task is to release them in opposite directions once their 22,522km altitude orbit is reached. The satellites themselves will then gradually lower themselves to their working 22,322km orbit.