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Soyuz rocket carrying two Galileo satellites lifts off

Posted on Aug 22 2014 | IANS

Brussels, Aug 22 : A Soyuz rocket carrying two Galileo satellites, the fifth and sixth of Europe's Galileo global satellite navigation system, lifted off from the spaceport in French Guiana Friday, the European Space Agency (ESA) has announced.

The Soyuz Flight VS09 lifted off at 12.27 p.m. GMT. The two satellites are scheduled to deployed into free-flight orbit three hours and 47 minutes after launch, 23,522 km above the Earth, Xinhua reported citing an ESA statement on its website.

The launch of the two Galileo satellites, originally scheduled for Thursday, was postponed due to unfavourable weather conditions in European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

The two satellites are the first of a new series which is fully owned by the European Union (EU).

The satellites, called Doresa and Milena, were named by two schoolchildren who won an European Union-wide drawing competition.

Galileo is Europe's own global satellite navigation system, providing a highly accurate, guaranteed global positioning service under civilian control.

It is inter-operable with GPS and Glonass, or the US and Russian global satellite navigation systems.

The fully deployed Galileo system will consist of 30 satellites and their ground infrastructure.

Four Galileo satellites have already been launched in pairs in October 2011 and October 2012.

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