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Second Galileo satellite now in orbit

Posted: 01 May 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Galileo satellite? European navigation system?

The European Space Agency (ESA) announced Apr. 28 that the second Galileo navigation satellite is in orbit around the Earth.

This is according to the United Press International, which reported that the satellite lifted-off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in the evening of Apr. 26 and was orbiting at an altitude of about 125 miles, carrying an accurate atomic clock.

Dubbed GIOVE-B (Galileo in Orbit Validation Element), the satellite will continue the testing of critical technologies for Europe's planned $5.3 billion satellite navigation system that's expected to become operational in 2013.

The satellite carries two redundant small-size rubidium atomic clocks, each with a stability of 10ns per day. The ESA noted that GIOVE-B is also carrying a Passive Hydrogen Maser (PHM) with stability better than 1ns per day. Official claim that PHM is the first of its kind to be launched into space and offers the most stable clock to operate in Earth orbit.

Besides its technology-demonstration mission, GIOVE-B will also take over GIOVE-A's mission to secure the Galileo frequencies. The first Galileo satellite, launched in December 2005, GIOVE-A is approaching the end of its operational life.

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