Successful launch with Soyuz rocket in Kourou (French Guiana) on 21 October 2011
Ramsauer: First Galileo satellites in space
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Today, the first two Galileo satellites were launched. The rocket launch in Kourou (French Guiana) was successful.
Federal Minister Peter Ramsauer stated:
"This is a great step forward for the European Community project Galileo. I am proud that the German space sector has made a major contribution to this project."
The Galileo Control Centre at the German Areospace Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen is, together with its partner centre in Fucino in Italy, the centre for the control of this system. The first four satellites - including the ones which were launched today - come from the EADS Astrium GmbH in Ottobrunn in Bavaria. The OHB System AG in Bremen is developing a series of 14 further satellites which are to be sent into space until 2015. Subsequently, the constellation is to be gradually extended until the end of this decade to include 30 planned satellites.
"The Federal Government fully supports this joint EU project. With Galileo, Europe will have its own satellite navigation system and will, thus, become independent of other systems",
The Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development provided a total of about € 170 million for the funding of the development phase (four satellites with ground infrastructure). The further setting up of the Galileo system will be completely financed from the EU budget.
Galileo opens up new and more precise applications especially in the transport sector, e.g. for air navigation services and logistics or for emergency services but also in agriculture and in the construction industry. Innovative companies are already today developing applications and can use the test environments for example in Berchtesgaden, Rostock or Braunschweig for this purpose. The two satellites which were launched today are called Thijs and Natalia - the names of the first winners of the EU-wide drawing competition for children from 9 to 11 years on the subject of "space". In Germany, this competition will end on 15 November 2011.