Europe launched its first two operational satellites for Galileo on 21 October 2011. In total, Galileo will consist of 30 satellites, control centers located in Europe, and a network of sensor stations and uplink stations installed around the globe.
On 17 November 2016, Galileo satellites 15, 16, 17 and 18 (codenamed Antonianna, Lisa, Kimberley and Tijmen) lifted-off from the European Space Port of Kourou, French Guyana at 14:06:55 CET for the first time aboard an Ariane 5 ES VA233 flight. The separation of the satellites from the newly-designed quadruple dispenser of the launcher occurred as planned and the expected position of the four satellites in orbit was confirmed some minutes after the separation of the two pairs, on base of the emitted signals.
This launch is the 75th successful launch in a row of the European Ariane 5 launcher, beating the previously record held by Ariane 4 (74 successful launches).
On 24 May 2016, Galileo satellites 13 and 14 (codenamed Daniele and Alizée) lifted-off from the European Space Port of Kourou, French Guyana at 10:48:43 CET aboard the Soyuz VS15 flight.
The separation of the satellites from the Fregat fourth stage of the launcher occurred as planned and the expected position of the satellites in orbit was computed shortly afterward from the emitted signals.
This launch was the last one using a Soyuz rocket for the moment. At the end of 2016, the Ariane 5 rocket will lift four satellites into orbit in one flight, further accelerating the deployment of the constellation.
On 17 December 2015, Galileo satellites 11 and 12 (codenamed Liene and Andriana) were successfully launched at 12:51 CET from the European Space Port of Kourou, French Guyana.
The separation of the satellites from the Fregat last stage occurred at 16:38 CET, and the signals received shortly afterwards proved that the satellites were orbiting at their nominal position.
This launch paves the way for the provision of Galileo initial services in 2016 and is a clear sign of the EU's commitment to providing state-of-the-art positioning and time-reference signals in the near future.
On 11 September 2015, the EU launched two more Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellites into orbit. The launch of satellites 9 and 10 (named Alba and Oriana) was successful. With this launch, one-third of the Galileo constellation is now in space. The Soyuz launcher lifted off from the European Space Port in Kourou, French Guyana at 04:08 CET. After 3 hours and 47 minutes of flight, the two satellites were released towards a target altitude of 23,522 km. At this operational altitude, they are expected to enter service after the in-orbit testing phase.
On 27 March 2015, the EU launched two Galileo's Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellites number 7 and 8. The launch was successful. The Soyuz launcher lifted-off from the European Space Port in Kourou, French Guyana. After 3 hours and 48 minutes of flight, the two satellites were released at an altitude of 22,500 km. From there, they will drift to their operational altitude of 23,222 km where they are expected to enter service after the in-orbit testing phase.
On August 22 2014, the first launch of Galileo's Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellites took place at the European Space Port of Kourou (French Guyana). These satellites, manufactured by the German company OHB, were meant to join the current four in the In-Orbit Validation phase, which were used to conduct tests and validate technical solutions before being used for nominal service provision.
Unfortunately, the orbit injection didn't occur as planned and the satellites did not reach their intended orbital position. The European Commission has requested Arianespace and the European Space Agency (ESA) to provide full details of the incident, together with a schedule and an action plan to enable use of the two satellites despite their unintended orbit.
The launch of Galileo's third and fourth satellites from Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana took place on the 12 October 2012.
The launch of the first two operational satellites of the EU's global navigation satellite system took place on 21 October 2011 from the European Space Port in Kourou, French Guiana. This is just the first of a series of launches due to take off from Kourou. The placement of the Galileo satellites at an altitude of 23,222 kms will lead to the provision of initial satellite navigation services by 2016 at the latest. Future satellite launches will complete the constellation by 2020.