Europe launches two more Galileo Navigation Satellites in space

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PARIS: Two more satellites joined Europe’s Galileo navigation fleet in orbit Thursday after launch from French Guiana aboard a Soyuz rocket, giving the system a dozen of its planned 30 members as the European Commission begins ordering eight more satellites to complete construction of the multibillion-dollar network. The two satellites, the 11th and 12th spacecraft in the Galileo constellation, blasted off at 1151:56 GMT (6:51:56 a.m. EST) from the Guiana Space Center in South America. A Fregat upper stage took over about 10 minutes into the mission, conducting two engine firings separated by a three-hour coast as it arced to the Galileo satellites’ target altitude about 23,500 kilometers (14,600 miles) above Earth. Officials declared the launch a success after confirming the health of the satellites and verifying the rocket put the payloads in the correct orbit. The satellites launched Thursday were made by OHB of Bremen, Germany, with navigation instrumentation built by Britain’s Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.(Space Flight)

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