Europe's Galileo satellite navigation constellation has taken another step towards realisation with the shipment of the first of 14 Full Operational Capability navigation payloads from Surrey Satellite Technology in the UK to prime contractor OHB System in Bremen, Germany.
The first two Galileo satellites were orbited in October, and two more are due for launch at the end of this summer. These four, with payloads built by Astrium UK in Portsmouth and integrated into satellite platforms by Thales Alenia Space in Italy, will be followed by the SSTL-OHB spacecraft for launch from 2014.
Once all 14 are in orbit, the 18-strong constellation will provide near-global coverage. Full coverage is planned for 2018, with 30 satellites.