On 12 December 2017 at 19:36 Central European Time (15:36 local time), the 'Nicole', 'Zofia', 'Alexandre' and 'Irina' satellites of the European Galileo satellite navigation system were launched to space on board an Ariane 5 launcher from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.
Brussels – The European satellite navigation system Galileo took another step toward future routine operations on 15 December 2016. Acting on behalf of the European Commission, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) has assigned the responsibility for operating Galileo in the next 10 years to the firm Spaceopal from Munich. The contract was signed on this day in Brussels.
On 1 August 2014, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and Telespazio, a Finmeccanica/Thales company, reconfirmed their cooperation for the operation of the European satellite navigation programme Galileo.
The first two satellites for the European Galileo navigation system have been orbiting Earth since 21 October 2011. Now, two more are about to follow; on 12 October 2012 at 20:15 CEST, a Soyuz rocket will launch satellites three and four into their position in space.
The successful launch of the first two Galileo In-Orbit Validation (IOV) satellites on 21 October 2011 marks the start of space segment construction for an independent European satellite navigation system.
An equation with four unknowns – at least, that is how satellite navigation is summarised by Walter Päffgen, Managing Director of the German Aerospace Center's Space Applications Company and Head of the Galileo Control Centre.