Sunday

23rd Jul 2017

EU to investigate Galileo launch failure

  • The satellites are in an elliptical orbit some 17,000 kilometers above the earth instead of a circular one at 23,000 km (Photo: Gesa Henselmans)

The European Commission has set up an inquiry into the failure to correctly launch the latest two satellites of its ill-fated Galileo space programme.

The two satellites, Doresa and Milena, were launched from French Guiana, aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket last Friday, and are the fifth and sixth of 30 satellites scheduled to be launched as part of the scheme.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The EU's Galileo satellite navigation system faces its latest setback after two satellites were launched into the wrong orbit. (Photo: wikipedia)

At the weekend the European Space Agency (ESA) informed the commission that its Control Centre in Darmstadt (Germany) has the satellites under control, but that they are not in their intended orbital position.

It said they are in an elliptical orbit some 17,000 kilometers above the earth instead of an intended circular one at 23,000 km.

In a statement released on Monday (25 August) the commission said that Arianespace, the French space transport company awarded the contract, and the European Space Agency (ESA) had been asked to provide a report on the incident, together with a schedule and a timeline to rectify the problem.

Arianespace and ESA are expected to report back to the EU executive in the first week of September, but in the meantime Arianespace refused to comment on whether it will be possible to put the satellites onto their correct orbit.

But commission sources have indicated that the satellites are now unlikely to be operational.

The commission is not in line for any compensation.

The incident is another setback for the EU’s space programme, which has so far cost taxpayers €6 billion and is expected to require a further €7 billion investment between now and 2020.

Industry commissioner Ferdinando Nelli Feroci said the errors were “very unfortunate”, but added that he is “convinced of the strategic importance of Galileo.”

“I am confident that the deployment of the constellation of satellites will continue as planned".

The Galileo programme is the EU’s bid to develop a global satellite navigation network to rival the US global positioning system (GPS).

EU governments want to be able to tap into the lucrative market for navigation satellite products and services such as street directions and navigation for drivers. The market was valued at €175 billion in 2013 and is expected to grow to €237 billion in 2020.

The EU programme has been dogged by repeated delays and over-spending, while some remain unconvinced there is a need to rival the GPS network.

Galileo contracts give boost to delayed project

The European Union's much-delayed satellite navigation system, Galileo, received an important boost on Thursday with the awarding of several key contracts to European companies.

EU rescue bid for Galileo faces difficulties

The 27-nation EU is entering the final phase of talks on how to finance the bloc's troubled satellite navigation system, Galileo, but member states remain split, while the European Parliament has flexed its muscles on the issue.

Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU

Lawmakers in Poland adopted a controversial reform of the Supreme Court, despite warnings from the EU that the move could trigger a sanction procedure over the rule of law.

EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions

EU and UK negotiators presented their Brexit positions to identify common grounds this week, but that was made difficult by the scarcity of UK position papers.

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Dutch coalition talks lengthiest in 40 years
  2. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  3. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  4. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  5. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  6. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  7. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  8. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary