European space activity suffered another catastrophic failure on August 22nd when an Arianespace Soyuz rocket failed to correctly launch a pair of Galileo global positioning satellites. While not affecting the TV industry itself, the failure will place further delays on future launches with Soyuz rockets pending an official Board of Inquiry into the loss.
The end result saw the two satellites launched to near-useless orbits and officials doubt whether their orbits can be raised to their correct positions and still have any fuel left onboard.
The European Space Agency-backed Galileo system is now left in an embarrassing position of having to urgently attempt to determine what went wrong, but also adding this failure to a long list of other failures, not least a massive budgetary overspend (currently some $13.3 billion in total, although in initially budgeted at €5 billion) and many years overdue. One European research agency has suggested the eventual cost will be about $22.2 billion.
Galileo is also massively late. It was expected to be fully operational by now, 2014. The latest dates – notwithstanding the latest loss – is 2019, at the best.