Thales Alenia Space shipped the Giove-B, the second test satellite in the Galileo navigation constellation, from its plant in Rome to the ESA-ESTEC facility in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. The delivery follows the production team, led by prime contractor Thales Alenia Space and including Telespazio, EADS Astrium and ESA, completing all preliminary tests, including the thermal-vacuum test that duplicates the satellite's in-orbit environment.
Thales Alenia Space's Rome plant was responsible for satellite integration, platform and system tests, as well as vibration, shock and thermal-vacuum tests. By passing the thermal-vacuum test, the Giove-B satellite demonstrated that is ready for delivery to ESTEC in Noordwijk, where it will undergo further tests before being sent to the Baikonur cosmodrome to start launch preparations. The satellite launch on a Soyuz rocket is scheduled for the end of 2007. Once in orbit the Giove-B satellite should validate various critical Galileo technologies. In particular, it will provide in-orbit testing of the atomic clocks, which is the cornerstone of the navigation system.