One of Europe’s most important space projects, and one that is already four years behind schedule, suffered another setback on Saturday.
Arianespace says the first two Galileo satellites, launched on board a Soyuz rocket on Friday, have failed to reach their desired orbit. An investigation is underway, and it is unclear if they are salvageable, or if they can be bumped up to their operational altitude.
Galileo is designed to compete with America’s GPS global locating system, and ensure Europe is not dependent on an American network.
In all, 30 satellites will be needed for Galileo to work, at a total estimated cost of five and a half billion euros.