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He recalled that the system's four satellites in orbit, which had been launched in the 2011-2012 period, constitute the minimum number of spacecraft enabling the ESA to provide vehicle navigation services.
"This year we plan to launch another six satellites. All the three launchings (two satellites per launch) will be effected from the Kourou spaceport by means of Russian Soyuz-ST carrier rockets," Pichel said.According to him, last year the operation of the four satellites in orbit were linked with a large number of ground stations while qualification tests confirmed that the system was operating in a nominal mode.
ESA plans have it that there must be 30 satellites of the Galileo system in orbit, all in all.
"Funds for the establishment of the system have been already allocated. So far, they are provided by the ESA and the European Commission. However, following the activation of the system, the European Commission will fully assume financing," Pichel pointed out.