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Soyuz launches Galileo satellites
Posted: Sat, Oct 13, 2012, 9:41 AM ET (1341 GMT)
Soyuz launch of Galileo IOV-2 satellites (Arianespace) A Soyuz rocket launched a pair of Galileo navigation satellites for Europe on Friday, allowing on-orbit testing of the planned system to begin. The Soyuz ST-B rocket lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana, at 2:15 pm EDT (1815 GMT) Friday and released the two Galileo In Orbit Validation (IOV) satellites into medium Earth orbit three hours and 45 minutes later. The spacecraft join two other IOV satellites launched on a Soyuz almost exactly a year ago. ESA and the European Commission will use the four satellites to test and fine-tune the technologies needed for the full Galileo satellite navigation system. Europe plans to start launching the operational Galileo satellites next year, with 18 in orbit by late 2014, enough to begin to provide some navigation services. The full 30-satellite constellation will be in place by 2018.
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