Next two satellites from Galileo program are going to be launched with Arianespace rocket from Guiana Space Centre launch site LCS.
Galileo navigation was created by ESA to provide highly acccurate system under civilian management with extended capabilities in emergency applications. Also being independent from Russian Glonass and American GPS have been developed to provide European Union navigation system which would be dependable during any political situation - this necessity became clearly visible for European politicians after 11th September 2001. After launching first satellite in 2011 Galileo is planned to provide services in 2016, furthemore in 2020 it is scheduled to complete all from 30 (24 operational and 6 spare) satellites. Notes fast pace to achieve full efficiency of the system - compared to Glonass which became fully functional (with 24 satellites). Of course Glonass and Galileo can not match with GPS wich was finished in 5 years after launching first satellite in 1989, but still opposed to Glonass and GPS Galileo is cilivilian solution with civilian budget. First fourteen FOC satellites providing signal for Galileo navigation are made by OHB System and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), next eight are contracted to OHB System. On 17th December 2015 it is planned to launch 11th and 12th satellites. Importance of the program progress and previous successes sometimes perceived as unnecessary best summarize words spoken by Elżbieta Bieńkowska (European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs) in March 2015:
"The successful launch of two Galileo satellites takes us one step closer to a global European satellite navigation system. Today we demonstrated again that Europe has state-of-the-art know-how, cutting edge technology, and the vision and determination to accomplish great things. Whether you're hoping to benefit from the next generation of in-car Satellite Navigation – or the reassurance of knowing the coastguard can deploy Search and Rescue – Galileo will soon provide you with great opportunities."
Reality confirms that Galileo was only way to provide EU indepentence in terms of base security and letting European space industry to remain competitive. On 27th December 2012 spokesman of Chinese National Space Administration, Ran Chengqi, confirmed that Chinese domestic navigation system (called BeiDou) started providing commercial servicec for civilian user in Asia.
Therefore there is no rider without a horse. Positive cooperation with Arianespace during last Galileo launches clearly designates which launch service provider was chosen for 17th December launch in Guiana. Arianespace is dependable contractor with reliable Soyuz-ST rocket. With payload weight between 3250 kg for GTO to 1440 kg for GEO Soyuz-ST will provide launching two satellites weighing about 700 kg each into orbit. Soyuz-ST is two stage (with upper stage called Fregat), liquid fueled rocket : in first stage powered by one RD-108A engine (792.5 kN) and supported by four boosters (RD-107 with 838.5 kN on each booster). Second stage propulsion is RD-0124 engine (thrust at 297,9 kN). Fregat is equipped with S5.92 engine and is characterized by thrust at 19,85 kN.