The modified Ariane 5 launcher that will lift four Galileo satellites into space is being assembled at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, preparation for launch on November 17.
The launch is a major step forward for the Galileo program. The 14 Galileo spacecraft already in orbit have been launched two at a time, by Soyuz from French Guiana.
Having 18 satellites in the constellation should enable initial Galileo operational services to begin, a decision that will be taken by the European Commission, the system’s owner.
Two more four-satellite Galileo launches by Ariane 5 are due in the next two years.