Back in August, two of the EU’s highly ambitious GNSS satellites were dropped into wrong orbits, though the space agency said at the time they were still under its control. Arianespace, the company responsible for the launch of those satellites, set up an Independent Inquiry Board in the aftermath to identify and analyze the anomaly that caused the insertion of the satellites into wrong orbits. The initial findings of the Board talked about an anomaly which they thought to have occurred during the flight phase involving the Fregat upper stage, causing the satellites to be injected into a non-compliant orbit.
The Board has now announced its definitive conclusions which blame the failure of two of Fregat’s attitude control thrusters during the preceding ballistic phase due to a temporary interruption of the joint hydrazine propellant supply for the Gallileo satellites insertion into wrong orbits.
The European Union’s Friday launch of two Galileo satellites from French Guiana was not completely successful, for the satellites never made it to the orbit they were supposed to be ‘dropped’ into. The European Space Agency says that those satellites are still under control and are successfully being operated from the European Space Operations Center, Germany. The satellites were launched on a Soyuz ST-B rocket operated by Arianespace, a French company known for being the world’s first commercial space transportation provider. The controllers are now analyzing and pondering about the options they have to salvage the satellites. This discrepancy between targeted and reached orbit was first reported on Arianespace website on Friday.
Since the control is not yet lost, the controllers do have a chance to make things right, although no info has been provided by the officials involved regarding the options they are exploring.