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Galileo satellites ready for fuelling

Galileo satellite being prepared for fit check. This test ensures the 7th and 8th Galileo satellites fit onto their dual-launch dispenser. The dispenser sits atop the Fregat upper stage of their Soyuz ST-B launcher. – © ESA/CNES/ARIANESPACE – Service Optique CSG

Since the seventh and eighth Galileo satellites arrived in French Guiana last month (February), they have undergone several tests – including one System Compatibility Test Campaign each, where they are linked up to the rest of the global Galileo ground segment as if they are already live in orbit.

The all-important fit check was passed in the middle of February. The two satellites were installed separately onto their dual-launch dispenser, to check they fitted correctly.

Last week saw the finalisation of their hardware and software, and the charging of their batteries – on which the satellites will be reliant from the short but crucial period from their launch to the unfurling of their solar arrays in orbit.

The pair of satellites is now ready to be transferred to the Spaceport’s S5A fuelling facility, where they will receive the fuel to keep them controllable during their twelve-year working lives.