Galileo put to the test

The main antenna of the second Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satelli

The main antenna of the second Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellite being inspected with a flashlight in advance of mass property testing during August 2013.

Galileo FOC FM2 main antenna
Galileo Full Operational Capability Flight Model 2, FM2, satellite’s main L-band antenna used for broadcasting navigation messages, seen during preparation for a mass property test at the ESTEC Test Centre at the end of August 2013.
Two Galileo FOC satellites together
The first two Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellites seen together at the ESTEC Test Centre on 30 August 2013. The second flight model, FM2, is in the foreground to the left with the first, FM1, in the background to the right.
Galileo inspection
The main antenna of the second Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellite being inspected with a flashlight in advance of mass property testing during August 2013.
Checking the underside
Checking the underside of the second Galileo Full Operational Capability satellite with a flashlight in advance of mass property testing in August 2013.
Galileo FOC FM1 in Maxwell
Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellite first flight model, FM1, being prepared for ’passive intermodulation testing’ within the Maxwell electromagnetic test facility inside the ESTEC Test Centre at the end of August 2013.
Galileo FOC FM2 lowered for mass property test
The second Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellite being lowered onto the WM50/6 mass properties test system for centre of gravity and moment of inertia testing in August 2013.
Galileo FOC FM2 fixed to mass property machine
Second Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellite being fixed to a plate attached to the WM50/6 mass properties test system for centre and gravity and moment of inertia mass property testing during August 2013.
Galileo FOC FM2 mass property test
The second Galileo Full Operational Capability satellite undergoing testing on the WM50/6 mass properties test system at the ESTEC Test Centre in August 2013, measuring its centre of gravity and moment and inertia.
Galileo FOC FM2 being prepared for LEAF testing
Second Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellite being prepared for acoustic testing, simulating the noise of a rocket launch, inside the Large European Acoustic Facility, LEAF, of the ESTEC Test Centre in early September 2013.
Galileo FOC FM2 in LEAF
Second Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellite following acoustic testing simulating the extreme noise of a rocket launch, after the doors of the Large European Acoustic Facility (LEAF) were opened in September 2013. Note the speaker horn embedded in the wall of the LEAF to the left. Microphones surround the satellite to check the sound levels while the blue-insulated lines harness data from accelerometers inside the satellite, checking on internal vibration.
Galileo FOC FM1 beside Phenix test chamber
The first Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellite, FM1, seen beside the Phenix test chamber being readied for its five-week long thermal vacuum testing in October 2013.
Galileo FOC FM1 prepared for Phenix testing
The first Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellite beside the Phenix test chamber in the ESTEC Test Centre in October 2013, being readied for its five-week-long thermal vacuum test. Note the thermal tent visible inside the chamber, used to reproduce the temperature extremes of Earth orbit.


Europe’s next pair of Galileo satellites have been the focus of a busy autumn at ESA’s technical centre in the Netherlands, continuing a full-scale campaign to ensure their readiness for space.

With the first four Galileos already in orbit, these new versions are the first two of a total 22 ’Full Operational Capability’ satellites being built by OHB in Germany with a payload from Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd in the UK.

The second satellite joined its predecessor in mid-August at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre in Noordwijk. This is the largest spacecraft testing site in Europe, with a full range of space simulation facilities under a single roof in cleanroom conditions. A wide range of tests have been performed on the two satellites. Rating: 5 /5 ( 5 votes cast)
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