"The liftoff and first part of the mission proceeded nominally, leading to release of the satellites according to the planned timetable, and reception of signals from the satellites,"
The circular orbit planned for the Galileo satellites was inclined at 55 degrees, with a semi major axis of about 18,000 miles. Instead, the spacecraft were put in an elliptical orbit with an incline off 49.8 degrees and a semi-major axis of about 16,280 miles.
Scientists and engineers of
Investigations into the cause of the incorrect orbit and how, if possible, the satellites can be saved are now taking place.
"Our aim is of course to fully understand this anomaly," said StÉphane IsraËl, chairman and chief executive officer of
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