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GIOVE-A (2005)

First Galileo positioning satellite for Europe, GIOVE-A (2005)

GIOVE-A, based on the SSTL-900 small GEO platform, was developed by SSTL for the European Space Agency to secure the Galileo frequency filings at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
 
The satellite also played a crucial role as the test-bed for the Galileo payload units, providing a representative signal-in-space for ground-based experimentation with Galileo signals as well as characterising the radiation environment for the Medium Earth Orbit used by all future Galileo satellites.
 
The satellite was designed, built and tested in a rapid 30 month programme and launched on schedule on 28th December 2005, allowing ESA to claim the frequency filings for the Galileo programme three months before the licence expired. 
 
On the 2nd May 2007 GIOVE-A successfully transmitted the first European navigation message from space, containing the information needed by users' receivers to calculate their position.
 
Despite the satellite physically being very different to all previous SSTL spacecraft, and operating in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) (as opposed to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) where all previous SSTL missions have operated), GIOVE-A was designed using SSTL's standard core approaches and standards, and even employs some COTs (commercial, off the shelf) based subsystems which commonly feature on our small LEO satellites.
 
GIOVE-A was designed and sized for a 27 month mission. Although still operational, it was officially retired on 30th June 2012 , having been successfully operating for much more than double its design life.

GIOVE-A (credit ESA)

GIOVE-A ready for EMC testing