Feeds

Galileo! Galileo. Galileo! Galileo frigged-LEO: Easy come, easy go. Little high, little low

You think you can love me and leave me to die? Never – ESA

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The European Space Agency (ESA) says it is working “relentlessly” after an “injection anomaly” pushed its two new Galileo sat-nav satellites into the wrong low Earth orbit (LEO).

The ESA today said “the satellites are safely under control” and pointing in the right direction at the Sun, at least. The agency is also prepared to “confirm the good health and the nominal behaviour" of both solar-powered satellites.

The birds are part of a $7.5bn constellation of 24 sats plus six spares, all due in place by 2017. The pair were supposed to be in a circular orbit, inclined at 55 degrees with a semi major axis of 29,900km – but they ended up in an elliptical orbit, with a semi-major axis of 26,200km inclined at 49.8 degrees. Five degrees is a big deal in space.

The Euro scientists are now “investigating possibilities to exploit the satellites to their best despite the non-nominal injection orbit and within the limited propulsion capabilities of the satellites.”

On other words: all is not lost, as the ESA may be able to get the birds working in some way or another. And as the tale of 1997's PAS-22 shows, there are ways to save a stricken sad-nav.

In PAS-22's case, a satellite that ended in the wrong orbit was sent on two Moon flybys to direct it into a new and previously-unplanned Earth orbit. The sat burned most of its fuel doing so, but ended up in a useful place where it was commercially viable, a decent result given it was considered a write-off after its failure to launch. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST
Speculation rife, but Orbital claims it's too early to tell
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
NASA: Spacecraft crash site FOUND ON MOON RIM
'What fun!' exlaims NASA boffin who found the LADEE
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.