Galileo Satellite Pair Fueled Up and Ready to Go

The spacecraft are scheduled to launch in less than two weeks

The two new Galileo satellites the European Space Agency (ESA) plans to launch as part of its Galileo satellite navigation constellation are now fueled up, and ready to launch later this month.

Current plans call for the satellites, the third and fourth in the constellation, to blast off into space on October 12, from the Kourou Spaceport, in French Guiana, South America. They will be delivered to space aboard a Russian-guilt Soyuz ST-B Fregat rocket.

Galileo consists of two dozen spacecraft in geostationary orbits, around 23,222 kilometers (14,430 miles). The first two satellites were launched in October 2011, also aboard a Soyuz delivery system.

ESA is building Galileo on instructions from the European Union. The latter wants access to its own positioning system, so that it no longer has to rely on Global Positioning System (GPS) data from the Americans.

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