The seventh and eighth Galileo satellites, set for launch together at the end of the week ahead, have been fitted together onto the dispenser that will carry them during their flight to orbit. Next, the dispenser plus satellites will be placed onto the Fregat upper stage of their Soyuz ST-B launcher.
As much a spacecraft as a launch stage, the re-ignitable Fregat will haul the Galileo satellites most of the way up to their final orbital altitude, once the first three stages of the Soyuz have taken them up to their initial orbit.
Europe’s seventh and eighth Galileo satellites, fixed to their dispenser, being transported to the 3SB preparation building on 18 March. It is here that they are mated to their Fregat upper stage and then encapsulated within their launch fairing. The pair of satellites will be launched by Soyuz ST-B on 27 March 2015. Note the protective metal panels covering the solar wings folded against the sides of the Galileo satellites. – © ESA/CNES/ARIANESPACE-Service Optique CSG