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ESA sends two more Galileo satellites into orbit

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The European Space Agency (ESA) sent two satellites into orbit March 27 to join the EU’s Galileo satellite navigation system.

ESA sends two more Galileo satellites into orbit

The European Space Agency (ESA) sent two satellites into orbit March 27 to join the EU’s Galileo satellite navigation system.

ESA’s launch of Galileo 7 and 8 brings the total to eight satellites now in the system, according to ESA.

The satellites were launched from the Europe Spaceport in French Guiana aboard a Soyuz rocket.

Following initial checks, the satellites will be handled by the Galileo Control Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany and the in-orbit testing facility in Redu, Belgium.

"The successful launch of two Galileo satellites takes us one step closer to a global European satellite navigation system," said Elżbieta Bieńkowska, European commissioner for internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SME. "Whether you're hoping to benefit from the next generation of in-car satellite navigation, or the reassurance of knowing that the coastguard can deploy search and rescue, Galileo will soon provide you with great opportunities."

Project Galileo is the EC's effort to create a more accurate navigation system than GPS, allowing positioning to within one metre. It also looks to drop the reliance on the US-owned GPS which, although offered for use, could be altered or removed in times of conflict.

After liftoff, the launch was monitored by ESA and France’s CNES space agency from the CNES Toulouse Centre. The satellites reached orbit around 3 hours 48 minutes after liftoff and reached an altitude of 23,500km.

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