Two Galileo satellites are flying way off track because of this design flaw

An investigation by launch service provider Arianespace shows that fuel freeze caused the Galileo satellite launched in late August to enter into a lower orbit than planned.

    2014/10/08

NSFW    An investigation by launch service provider Arianespace shows that fuel freeze caused the Galileo satellite launched in late August to enter into a lower orbit than planned.

A Soyuz rocket carrying two Galileo satellites was launched from French Guiana at 9:27 a.m. on August 22.

The fairing, a cone which protects the payload, was shed after the rocket entered into space due to reduced friction, as anticipated. The first and second stages also detached from the rocket without a hitch.

A design flaw, however, caused fuel powering the fregat stage to freeze. The hydrazine nozzle was blocked as the fuel supply pipe was placed too close to low-temperature helium pipes. As a result, the satellites were placed into a lower orbit than planned.

Lacking sufficient fuel, the satellites are not expected to make it to their pre-planned orbit. The misplaced orbits are valued at 40 million Euros, according to AFP.

The Galileo navigation system, which is expected to compete against the United States’ global positioning system, will cost the European Union more than ten billion Euros.
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