Today, four more satellites for the European Union’s Galileo satellite navigation system were launched on board an Ariane 5 ES from the Kourou space station in French Guiana to reach their orbit altitude of approximately 23,000 kilometres. This brings us closer to the goal of a fully functioning European satellite navigation system.

Thomas Jarzombek, Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy, said: “The motto of Germany’s Space Strategy is ‘Into Space for the benefit of Earth’. Today’s launch of the four new Galileo satellites underpins this goal. When these satellites are ready for operation next year, users all around the world will be able to navigate just using Galileo. The European Union’s Galileo programme is also a demonstration of the cutting edge space technology made in Germany, because all of the more recent satellites were made in Bremen by the German company OHB

Today’s launch is also the last one in the Galileo programme using the Ariane 5 launcher. The next Galileo satellites are to be transported from 2020 using the Ariane 6, and Galileo will be one of the first customers using the new launcher.

Ariane 5 is a success story, it has achieved a leading position in global space transport, and it has set standards in terms of reliability and performance. In view of the advances in space technology, we will now take the next step with Ariane 6, as the main goal in developing new launcher rockets is to maintain the international competitiveness of European launchers and to make them more economically viable. At the same time, we need to think beyond the launcher rockets and create an ecosystem for the new developments in space flight along the lines of ‘New Space’.”