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10 productive years in orbit for GIOVE-A, Galileo’s small satellite pathfinder

By [email protected] - 22nd January 2016 - 12:40

British small satellite manufacturer Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) is marking the 10th year of in-orbit operations from its GIOVE-A satellite, the pathfinder mission for Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation programme. Since retirement from its original mission for the European Space Agency, SSTL has operated the spacecraft at 23,300km where it provides valuable data about the radiation environment in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), and an on-board experimental GPS receiver is used to map out the antenna patterns of GPS satellites for use in planning navigation systems for future high altitude missions in Geostationary orbit (GEO), and beyond into deep space. John Paffett, Director of Telecommunications and Navigation at SSTL, summed up GIOVE-A’s achievements by commenting “GIOVE-A is a milestone mission for SSTL which has demonstrated that our pragmatic approach and innovative, low cost, small satellites can deliver critical mission requirements for landmark space programmes, such as Galileo.”