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Commission to probe into Galileo orbital injection anomaly August 28

The commission includes eight specialists representing ESA and relevant agencies of the member states as well as a European Commission delegate

PARIS, August 26 /ITAR-TASS/. A commission of experts will begin investigating the Galileo satellite orbital injection anomaly on August 28 and present its findings by September 8, Arianespace said on Monday.

The commission will be headed by the European Space Agency’s former Inspector General Peter Dubock. “Its mandate is to establish the circumstances of the anomaly, to identify the root causes and associated aggravating factors, and make recommendations to correct the identified defect and to allow for a safe return to flight for all Soyuz launches from the Guiana Space Centre (CSG),” Arianespace said.

The commission includes eight specialists representing ESA and relevant agencies of the member states as well as a European Commission delegate, Paul Flament, who is responsible for Galileo and Egnos Programmes Management, and Director-General for Enterprise and Industry.

To maintain links with the Russian partners in the Soyuz at CSG programme, the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, on request from the head of Arianespace, has designated Alexander Daniliuk, Deputy Director General of TsNIIMash, as board liaison.

Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stephane Israel said: “I would like to thank Peter Dubock for having accepted the chairmanship of this commission, which was appointed in conjunction with ESA and the European Commission and with the support of the space agencies from France (CNES), Germany (DLR) and Italy (ASI), along with a team of high-level European experts. The commission will now be able to carry out its work independently, operating under a very tight schedule. We sincerely hope that the commission’s recommendations will lead to a rapid resumption of missions, while ensuring the high reliability expected of our Soyuz launches from CSG.”

ESA said its specialists were trying to figure out how much the anomaly could affect the Galileo mission. “Both satellites have been acquired and are safely controlled and operated from ESOC, ESA’s Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany,” it said.

Roscomos has set up an independent emergency commission to investigate the matter. Its chairman will also take part in the work of the commission created by Arianespace, the European Space Agency and the European Commission.

“Roscosmos will provide assistance to the European emergency commission and Arianespace experts in determining the causes of the injection anomaly and work out a list of measures to be taken to resume space launches in the shortest time possible and with the required level of reliability,” the agency said.

It said the Soyuz rocket had lifted off and its upper stage had separated on time and flawlessly. After separation, the booster had to put the two European satellites into orbit using its own engines. It usually takes several hours to complete the manoeuvre, during which time the booster’s engine is activated up to five times.

“The express analysis of the telemetric data shows that there are no complaints about the work of the onboard equipment of the Soyuz carrier rocket and Fregat booster,” Roscosmos said.

Russia’s Lavochkin aerospace company confirmed on Saturday there were errors in the deployment of European Galileo satellites by its Fregat-MT booster.

“There were orbiting errors,” the company said, following reports that the satellites had deviated from the target orbit.

Russia’s Soyuz rocket with a Fregat-MT upper stage and two Galileo navigation system satellites blasted off from Kourou, French Guiana, on Friday, August 22.