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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.