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Galileo PFM



Galileo PFM was launched from the new European spaceport at the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in Kourou, French Guiana on 21 October 2011. The Soyuz 2.1b rocket launched at 10:30 UT and carried two satellites, Galileo FM2 and Galileo PFM. These two satellites comprised the Galileo IOV-1 (In-Orbit Validation) payload, the first two operational satellites of the European Union's Galileo navigation program. The two satellites totaled 1.4 tonnes mass.

The Galileo satellites will conduct maneuvers every 12 hours for the first two weeks to reach their test positions. Three months from launch the satellites will produce their first navigation signals. These two satellites will be joined later by two additional Galileo satellites to be launched in 2012. The four satellites will form the operational nucleus of the full 30-satellite constellation. The four spacecraft together will show whether the satellites and ground segment meet many of Galileo's requirements and will validate the system's design in advance of completing and launching the remainder of the constellation.

Once the in-orbit validation phase has been completed, the remaining satellites will be installed to reach full operational capability. The 30-satellite Galileo navigation system will provide high-quality positioning, navigation and timing services to users across the whole world as a civil-controlled service offering guaranteed continuity of coverage. The system is planned to begin transmitting signals to users in 2014 and will become fully operational in 2016. The satellite carries a payload consisting of: two passive hydrogen maser atomic clocks; two Rubidium atomic clocks; clock monitoring and control unit; navigation signal generator unit; an L-band antenna for navigation signal transmission, a C-band antenna for uplink signal detection, two S-band antennas for telemetry and telecommands; and, a search and rescue antenna. The satellite has a design life of more than 12 years.

Alternate Names

  • 37846
  • Galileo IOV-1
  • GalileoPFM
  • Thijs

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2011-10-21
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-2.1b
Launch Site: Kourou, French Guiana

Funding Agency

  • European Space Agency (International)


  • Navigation/Global Positioning

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

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