Two Galileo satellites have been blasted into the wrong orbit, red-faced officials at the European Space Agency said today.
Errant sats Doresa and Milena were launched on a Russian-built Soyuz rocket on Friday. But launch service outfit Arianespace admitted that the satellites failed to go into the correct orbit.
"Complementary observations gathered after separation of the Galileo FOC M1 satellites on Soyuz Flight VS09 have highlighted a discrepancy between targeted and reached orbit," it said in a statement on its website.
Arianespace added that a probe was underway to work out what had gone wrong with the satellite launch.
The fifth and sixth Galileo sats that were blasted into space yesterday from French Guiana are reportedly behaving themselves.
Meanwhile, the ESA offered this statement:
Following the announcement made by Arianespace on the anomalies of the orbit injection of the Galileo satellites, the teams of industries and agencies involved in the early operations of the satellites are investigating the potential implications on the mission.
Both satellites have been acquired and are safely controlled and operated from ESOC, ESA’s Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.
Further information on the status of the satellites will be made available after the preliminary analysis of the situation.
As The Register reported on Friday, ESA boffins are increasing the frequency of launches to get the entire network of 30 orbital birds ready by 2017 – an ambitious three years ahead of schedule. ®